CAIRO – A student has been jailed for three years after police in Egypt discovered he had declared himself as an atheist on Facebook.
Karim Ashraf Mohammed al Banna was arrested last November when he went to police to complain that he had been harassed for his atheist views.
But instead he himself was arrested, and held in custody until his trial in the Nile Delta province of Baheria.
A court heard he had published Facebook posts which were “insulting” to Islam, during a trial in which his own father testified against him.
The 21-year-old’s lawyer, Ahmed Abdel Nabi, said: “He was handed down a three-year prison sentence, and if he pays a bail of 1,000 Egyptian pounds the sentence can be suspended until a verdict is issued by an appeals court.”
His father reportedly told the court that his son was “embracing extremist ideas against Islam”.
In 2012, a 27-year-old blogger called Alber Saber was found guilty of blasphemy and sentenced to three years in prison.
Last summer, a Coptic Christian man was also sentenced to six years for insulting Islam.
Egypt’s constitution means insults against Islam, Christianity and Judaism are illegal.
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