An Egyptian Court Upholds A Prison Sentence For The Activist Who Challenged The President

CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian appeals court on Monday upheld a one-year prison sentence against a prominent political activist who attempted to challenge President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi in last year’s election, a defense lawyer said.

Former presidential hopeful Ahmed Altantawy was taken into custody by security forces at the court in Cairo after the ruling, lawyer Khaled Ali said.

Altantawy was convicted and sentenced in February along with 22 of his aides, including his campaign manager, on charges of disseminating unauthorized endorsement forms for his candidacy. The court also barred Altantawy from national elections for the next five years. At the time, Altantawy was released on bail during appeal.

The lawyer said the court on Monday upheld the sentences against all defendants.

Altantawy, who was widely seen as the most viable opposition candidate, dropped out of the presidential race last year after failing to garner the number of signatures from voters required for a nomination.

At the time, he accused state security agencies of harassing his staff and supporters to prevent him from reaching the threshold for candidacy.

El-Sissi was reelected by an overwhelming majority for a third term.