The case was immediately interpreted as a warning to Egypt’s journalists that those who speak to government opponents could face the same fate. Al-Jazeera was seen as supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, whom el-Sissi forced from office nearly a year ago.
Since Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was ousted from office, thousands of political prisoners have filled Egypt’s courts. Ahmed Maher, the leader of the 6th of April movement, was sentenced to three years for staging a protest; this week, government officials suggested he could be charged with treason. Liberal activist Alaa Abdel Fatah received a 15-year sentence for encouraging a protest.