- Middle East/North Africa
An Egyptian court on Tuesday sentenced a Christian teacher to six years in prison after convicting him of blasphemy and defamation of President Mohamed Morsy and a plaintiff lawyer, according to Egyptian news reports.
The Sohag Misdemeanor Court found Bishoy Kamil Kamel guilty of insulting Prophet Mohamed, sentencing him to three years. He was also sentenced to two years for insulting the country’s president, and another year for insulting a plaintiff lawyer.
Independent daily Al-Watan newspaper said on its website that security has been heightened outside churches in Sohag to preempt any violence in response to the verdict.
Sohag’s prosecutor referred Kamel to trial in August after receiving a complaint from Mohamed Safwat Tammam, 32, accusing Kamel of posting insulting caricatures of Prophet Mohamed on his Facebook page, as well as abusing the country’s president in his comments.
Kamel denied the charges during interrogations, claiming that his account had been hacked. Investigators say they had managed to detect his address through the account and arrested him.
A number of lawsuits have been filed against public figures recently over charges of blasphemy and defaming the president, who belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.
Last week, an Egyptian court acquitted comedy star Adel Imam of charges of insulting Islam in his movies. Controversial media host Tawfik Okasha and Chief Editor of Al-Dostour newspaper Islam Afifiy are also standing trial for defaming the president and instigating his assassination.
The past week had also seen clashes outside the US Embassy between security forces and protesters decrying a move produced in the United States that had been deemed derogatory to Islam’s prophet.