Neither Abdul Fattah or his attorney were allowed in the court when the verdict was read.
His mother, Laila Soueif, expressed frustration that her son and his lawyer "were refused entry ... There was no justification for the judge to issue the verdict in absentia ... we expected a court hearing with the prosecution and witnesses speaking."
Egypt's judicial system, Soueif lamented, "has nothing to do whatsoever with law and justice."
Abdul Fattah was arrested in November 2013 for participating in a protest against an Egyptian law banning unauthorized demonstrations.
In 2011, Abdul Fattah played a leading role in the revolutionary protests that deposed President Hosni Mubarak.
Abdul Fattah's mother said the family would appeal the harsh verdict.