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Last Updated: Monday, 26 June 2006, 18:04 GMT 19:04 UK
Egypt journalists get jail terms
Protesters supporting the judges and riot police - 27 April 2006
Government critics say it is backtracking on promises of reform
Two Egyptian journalists have been sentenced to a year's imprisonment for defaming President Hosni Mubarak.

Al-Dustour chief editor Ibrahim Issa and reporter Sahar Zaki were found guilty of insulting and harming the president and the Egyptian people.

In April the paper reported on a legal case against the president accusing him of misusing public money during the privatisation of state-owned companies.

The man who filed the lawsuit, Said Abdullah, was also given a year's jail.

The three were also fined 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($1,743, 956), and were freed on bail pending a review by an appeal court.

Two years ago the president promised to abolish prison sentences for publishing offences but the new legislation has not yet been adopted.

Al-Dustour is an independent weekly paper which returned to newspaper stands last year after a seven-year ban for criticising the government.

Mr Issa, who did not attend the hearing, said the sentences showed the Egyptian government was not serious about recent promises of democratic reform in the 75m-population state.

"This is a severe slap in the face to all those who advocate democracy and freedom of expression in Egypt," Mr Issa told the Associated Press news agency.

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