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Apr 12, 11:41 AM EDT

Egypt's former top auditor to face military trial

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AP Photo/Amr Nabil

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CAIRO (AP) -- Egyptian military prosecutors referred the country's former top auditor to a military court over statements deemed insulting to the armed forces, state media reported on Thursday.

Hesham Genena was arrested in February after claiming on television that former military chief of staff Sami Annan, whom he was advising in a presidential bid, was in possession of documents incriminating the country's leadership. Annan's lawyer later criticized Genena's statements as "untrue" and said they shouldn't be attributed to his client.

Genena will stand trial on Apr 16, his lawyer Ali Taha said on Facebook.

The military had arrested Annan in January after he announced his intention to run for president in last month's election, easily won by incumbent President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. El-Sissi won with a landslide 97 percent after all serious challengers were arrested or dropped out under pressure. He ran against a little-known politician who supports him.

Shortly after Annan's arrest, unidentified men attacked and severely injured Genena outside his home in a Cairo suburb.

Genena, who led the state's Central Auditing Organization, was dismissed by el-Sissi in 2016 following an investigation that concluded he had misled the public on the size of government corruption. Genena said corruption had cost the country billions of dollars in 2015 alone. He later said he was misquoted.

Egypt under el-Sissi has waged a massive crackdown on dissent since the 2013 overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi after mass protests against his one year divisive rule.

Authorities have since jailed thousands of Islamists as well as several prominent secular activists. Unauthorized protests are banned, and hundreds of websites, including those of independent media and rights groups, have been blocked.

Most critics in the media have also been silenced and freedoms won by the 2011 uprising were rolled back. Authorities have also placed draconian restrictions on demonstrations and the work of rights groups.

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