Sadat's Nephew Gets Year in Jail for Defaming Egypt's Military

The nephew of the late President Anwar Sadat was sentenced to a year in prison Tuesday for defaming Egypt's armed forces, less than a month after he gave an interview accusing Egyptian generals of masterminding his uncle's assassination.

The unusually rapid prosecution effectively terminates Talaat Sadat's role in parliament as an outspoken government critic.

Sadat, 52, who had accused the government of prosecuting him for political reasons, was taken into custody immediately after the verdict, said his aide, Mohsen Eid, and court officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the press.

Media were not allowed into the courtroom and Egyptian newspapers have been instructed not to report his trial, which has come under criticism from the State Department as harmful to freedom of expression.

There is no appeal against military court verdicts. Sadat's only option is to appeal to President Hosni Mubarak.

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Sadat is the second prominent political opponent of the government to be sentenced to prison within 12 months. Last December, Ayman Nour, the leading challenger in last year's presidential elections, was sentenced to five years' imprisonment for forgery after a trial that was internationally regarded as failing to meet standards of due process.

Within minutes of the sentencing, Sadat's supporters shouted outside the court: "This is injustice!" "This is unlawful!"

Sadat had pleaded innocent to charges of "spreading false rumors and insulting the armed forces."

In an interview broadcast on Oct. 4, Sadat said there had been an international conspiracy to assassinate his uncle, and the conspirators included some of Anwar Sadat's personal guards, Egyptian generals, as well as the U.S. and Israel. He did not name the generals.

"No one from the special personal protection group of the late president fired a single shot during the killing, and not one of them has been put on trial," Sadat told the Saudi TV channel Orbit.

The day after the broadcast, Sadat was stripped of his parliamentary immunity and his trial began Oct. 11.

Anwar Sadat was shot dead by Islamic militants in the Egyptian army during a military parade in Cairo on Oct. 6, 1981. The soldiers were opposed to Sadat's landmark peace treaty with Israel of 1979.