An Egyptian court sentenced four outspoken newspaper editors to one year in prison with labor on Thursday for defaming President Hosni Mubarak and his politician son Gamal, court sources said.
The court also ordered the men -- Ibrahim Issa, Adel Hamouda, Wael el-Ebrashi and Abdel-Halim Qandil -- to pay fines of 20,000 Egyptian pounds ($3,540) each.
The court allowed them to pay bail of 10,000 pounds each to stay out of jail if they decide to appeal.
The lawsuit against the editors was filed by two members of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) about a year ago.
On Tuesday state security prosecutors referred Issa, editor of the daily newspaper al-Dustour, to trial in a separate case on the same defamation charge.
Al- Dustour, along with other Egyptian papers, covered the rumors around the president's ill health in late August, sparking an angry response from authorities who said the rumors were false and politically motivated.
Issa's trial is a way "to put pressure on those who are the most critical," said Gasser Abdel-Razek of Human Rights Watch. "It is a convenient way to try and silence the independent press," he told AFP.
Issa said that authorities were making an example of him.
"Press freedom means the freedom to criticize the president," he told AFP. "It's time for the president to come down from the status of pharaoh to that of a human being."