Egyptian student jailed after posting Sisi-Mickey Mouse on Facebook
A 22-year-old Egyptian has been jailed for three years after posting a photo-shopped image of the country’s president wearing Mickey Mouse ears on Facebook.
Amr Nohan, a law graduate, was just five days away from finishing his compulsory military service when he was tried by a military court for sharing satirical posts on social media sites.
A military prosecutor issued an indictment against Nohan on August 22 for sharing the image, which showed President Abdel Fattah El Sisi with a photo-shopped pair of Mickey Mouse ears.
Less than four months after the indictment, he was sentenced to three years behind bars for posting pictures considered inappropriate for a member of the armed forces.
The image was one of several social media posts that landed Nohan in jail, all of which were listed in extreme detail in the indictment.
Nohan also posted comments containing anti-establishment messages according to the indictment, including ‘Down with Sisi, Morsi and Mubarak’, which was branded ‘an insult to national figures’.
It was ruled that he had ‘thoughts inside of him that run contrary to that of the ruling regime’, and he was court-martialled.
Military investigators owned up in the indictment to tampering with Nohan’s account, by changing his password and monitoring his conversations in which he complained about difficult conditions in the army.
Nohan is currently being held in Borg El Arab prison, near Alexandria, which is also where ousted president Morsi served part of his sentence in late 2013.
‘We are truly in a Mickey Mouse state,’ his brother Mansour Nohan told IBTimes. ‘Satire is a way for any people that have a mind of their own to express themselves, be that in a democratic country or not.’
Cybercrimes and the circulation of satire have become a serious problem for the Egyptian president in the five years since the beginning of the Arab Spring.
In March this year, President Sisi warned of the threat of the misuse of the internet by terror groups.
In April, a cybercrimes law was drafted which Human Rights Watch criticised as containing ‘broadly worded provisions that could be abused to penalise legitimate expression online and through social media sites’.
In the absence of a functioning parliament, Egypt has seen a wave of strict laws which have landed more than 42,000 political prisoners behind bars.
One 19-year-old, Mahmoud Hussein, was detained for 700 days for wearing a T-shirt with the slogan ‘A nation without torture’.