Middle East

Egypt activist Ahmed Douma convicted for Morsi insult

Supporters wave a banner for activist Ahmed Douma
Image caption Supporters gathered at the courthouse where they clapped and chanted for Ahmed Douma

An Egyptian opposition activist has been given a six-month suspended jail sentence for insulting President Mohammed Morsi, state media say.

Correspondents say Ahmed Douma is the first prominent critic of Mr Morsi to be convicted on the charge, which has been levelled at other activists.

He has been held since 30 April after calling the president "a killer", in reference to a deadly crackdown.

Violent protests have left dozens dead and many more injured this year.

'Politicised'

Douma can pay 5,000 Egyptian pounds ($705; £470) to be released on bail until an appeal decision.

Supporters of the activist gathered at the courthouse and shouted slogans against the ruling Muslim Brotherhood.

Mr Morsi's government accuses its opponents of fuelling unrest to undermine his rule.

Douma's lawyer, Rami Ghareb, said the verdict was "politicised".

"What Douma has said is what all the people in the streets are saying," he told the Associated Press.

Douma was also convicted of spreading false news, the agency reported.

He was one of five leading political activists whose arrest was ordered by Egypt's top prosecutor following clashes near the Muslim Brotherhood's Cairo headquarters in March.

Mr Morsi, the Islamist candidate who won last June's elections, has been accused of seeking to suppress critics by accusing them of defamation - a charge he denies.

The new constitution, which came into force this year, has sparked protests from opponents who say it favours Islamists and does not sufficiently protect the rights of women, free speech or Christians.