Court overturns talk show host Ahmed Moussa’s 2-year prison sentence

The North Cairo Misdemeanor Appeals Court acquitted talk show host Ahmed Moussa, annulling a two-year prison sentence and LE30,000 fine previously leveled against him last March in a lawsuit filed by Democratic Front Party Head Osama al-Ghazaly Harb, state-owned Al-Ahram reported.

A misdemeanors court had sentenced Moussa to a year in prison and a LE10,000 fine for libel and slander against Harb, and another year and LE20,000 fine for propagating false news.

In statements to Ahram, Harb said that he respects the court’s verdict.

Harb had filed a lawsuit last October against Moussa after the latter insinuated on his show “’Ala Mas’ouleety” that the former was giving information to officials at the American embassy, and that he had established the party through illegitimate methods.

The lawsuit was also against owner of the Sada al-Balad satellite channel, which hosts Moussa’s show, Mohamed Aboul Enein. The court, however, had acquitted Aboul Enein of all charges.

Moussa’s rant about Harb on his show was in response to a column Harb had written that day in Al-Ahram titled “The Counter Revolution.” Harb cited “a talk show host” as an example of the counter revolution, referring to Moussa, saying he has “security connections,” and had embarked on a campaign to convince his viewers that the January 25 revolution was a conspiracy executed by a group of rented youth trained in Serbia.

Moussa is no stranger to controversy. He is notorious for his provocative rants against opposition activists and the Muslim Brotherhood following former President Mohamed Morsi’s ouster in July 2013. He was recently involved in a verbal tug of war with Islamist preacher Wagdy Ghoneim, following the deaths of 23 people on Egypt’s fourth anniversary of the January 25 revolution.

This is not the only lawsuit on his plate.

Earlier this month, he was sentenced to a year in prison and LE10,000 fine on charges of libel and slander against former presidential candidate and current Strong Egypt Party Head Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh.

In December, Moussa was also sentenced to six months in prison for insulting lawyer Tarek al-Awady, whom Moussa claimed to have broken into a police station last September.

Nevertheless, Moussa recently made an appearance as part of the media convoy accompanying President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, of whom he is a staunch supporter, on his trip to Germany. Many criticized the state for allowing someone who has been sentenced to prison by court to travel outside the country, especially at a time when activists have been banned from travelling on no clear grounds.

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