CAIRO – An Egyptian court has sentenced a farmer to six months in jail for dressing up his donkey last year to depict then-army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah Sisi, who left his military post last week to run for the presidency.
Omar Aboul Magd, 31, was arrested in September after riding his donkey during an anti-military march that was called for by supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
During the protest in the governorate of Qena, Aboul Magd painted Sisi's full name on the donkey's body and dressed it in a military cap. The word "Sisi" stands for "Pony" in Egyptian slang.
Both Aboul Magd and his donkey were kept in custody until the Qena Misdemeanors Court found the man guilty of "humiliating the military" on Monday.
Although Aboul Magd is expected to be released for time already served, his case is among several viewed as showing the risk of criticizing or offending the military.
In January, executives at Vodafone Egypt telecommunications company were questioned by prosecutors over an advertisement in which a puppet was allegedly "using a coded message to incite terrorist attacks" in Egypt.
In another court ruling that was described as "grotesque" by Amnesty International last month, 529 Morsi loyalists were sentenced to death for their alleged role in killing a policeman amid violent protests last summer.
Sisi, who led a coup against the elected Morsi in July, quit his post as defense minister last week to announce his candidacy for the presidential election scheduled in May.
Hassan is a special correspondent.