A journalist carries a placard which reads in Arabic 'Journalist is staying and the tyrants are on the demist' in front of the Journalists' Syndicate in Cairo on November 19, 2016, to protest against the courts verdict to sentence head of the union and two members to two years in prison. (Mohamed El-Shahed/AFP/Getty Images)

An Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced the head of the journalists union and two board members to two years in prison for harboring colleagues wanted by the law and spreading false news, judicial sources and their attorney said.

The verdict comes amid efforts by Egyptian authorities to quell rising dissent against army general-turned-president Abdel Fatah al-Sissi as the economy deteriorates.

The journalists union said late Saturday that it would appeal the verdict against its head, Yehia Qalash, and the two board members, Khaled al-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim. A bail of $623 has been set for each of them.

Prosecutors ordered the three men to be questioned in May after what their attorney, Sayed Abou Zeid, said at the time was a police raid on the union’s headquarters to arrest two opposition journalists, Mahmoud el-Sakka and Amr Badr, who had taken refuge there.

Egyptian authorities have cracked down hard on the Islamist, secular and liberal opposition alike since Sissi came to power in 2013.