The South Cairo Court will review on Monday a request by media host Islam Beheiry to change the court division that is handing his challenge to blasphemy charges that landed him one year in jail.
His lawyer, Gamel Saeed, said his client requested to change the court, which had already handed him the sentence.
Beheiry was initially sentenced to five years over the charge, but it was later brought down to one year.
Al-Azhar, Egypt and the Arab World’s top Islamic academy, had requested last year for Beheiry’s show on AlKahera wal Nas to be banned. The show mainly focused on challenging the credibility of the narrators of Prophet Muhammad’s “Hadiths”' (quoted teachings), most specifically Imam al-Bukhari (810-870 AD), an almost unquestioned reference in hadith narration.
Attacks and litigations targeting Beheiry and other intellectuals and media figures over religious views over the past few years have agitated free speech advocates.
Gaber Asfour, a former culture minister, said he hoped President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi would grant Beheiry amnesty from jail.
“Beheiry and his likes seek to renew religious discourse, respect religion and restore dignity to Islamic rhetoric,” said Asfour in an interview with ONTV channel late Sunday.
“Imam al-Bukhari, despite his eminence and the prudence of his works, had been implicated in adopting a number of illogical hadiths,” he said.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm