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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 May 2007, 11:20 GMT 12:20 UK
Jail term for al-Jazeera reporter
Howaida Taha, al-Jazeera reporter
Howaida Taha was not present in court and was sentenced in absentia
The Arabic TV channel al-Jazeera says a court in Egypt has sentenced one of its journalists to six months in prison.

The journalist, Howaida Taha, was accused of harming Egypt's national interests by fabricating video footage of police torture.

Al-Jazeera says the tapes show a documentary reconstruction of torture scenes by actors.

Human rights groups say it is not unusual for suspects to be tortured in

Egyptian police stations.

These allegations are strongly denied by the Egyptian authorities.

Video of police apparently sexually assaulting a man provoked outrage when it appeared on the web last year.

Taha, an Egyptian national, was planning to leave the country on 8 January after completing her reporting.

But she was stopped at Cairo airport and later charged but released on bail.

She was sentenced in absentia, and can appeal the verdict handed down by a state security court.


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