Egypt Host Sentenced to Jail for Insulting Morsi

An Egyptian court sentences television presenter Tawfiq Okasha to four months in prison for defaming President Morsi.

Elad Benari ,

Tawfiq Okasha
Tawfiq Okasha

An Egyptian court on Monday sentenced controversial television presenter Tawfiq Okasha to four months in prison for defaming President Mohammed Morsi, state media reported, according to AFP.

The court in the southern province of Luxor sentenced Okasha, who was not present at the trial, to four months in jail and ordered him to pay a fine of 100 Egyptian pounds (around $16) following a lawsuit by a former MP Nasreddine Moghazi.

Okasha, who heads his own TV channel Al-Faraeen and is known for his lengthy anti-Islamist rants on a talk show, faces several lawsuits including a case for alleged incitement to kill Morsi, judicial sources said.

His channel was suspended on August 16 after it aired a show that was stridently anti-Morsi, a long-time member of the Muslim Brotherhood who quit the organization when he was elected president in June.

On Saturday a court ruled that Al-Faraeen was allowed to resume broadcasting.

Last week Okasha was detained overnight for former convictions passed in absentia, after visiting a police station to check on the status of his court case for alleged incitement.

He was notified of two six-month convictions for issuing bad cheques and one-month terms for stealing electricity, and was then released again after spending nine hours in custody, according to a security source quoted by AFP.

Okasha ran for the presidency in Egypt, and declared in February that the Egyptian Army will engage in armed warfare against Israel, the United States and the European Union within three months.

He also said that "like the Nazis, the Jews aim to rule and own the world.”

Okasha is one of several Egyptian journalists who have been charged with offenses against Morsi. In August, Islam Afifi, the editor of the newspaper Al-Dustour, was accused of insulting Morsi and publishing lies about him.

Morsi subsequently issued a new law cancelling the Mubarak-era practice of temporarily detaining journalists for so-called “publication offences,” including the charge of “offending the president of the republic.”