The Court of Cassations has acquitted the Coptic young man Bishoi Kamel who
was charged in 2012 with deriding Islam and sentenced to six years in prison by
the Sohag Court of Misdemeanours.
Kamel, an English teacher in his late twenties, was accused of creating a Facebook
page and posting material deriding Islam and insulting the Prophet Muhammad and
Muhammad Mursi, the Muslim Brother who was the post-Arab Spring president of
Egypt. Even though the official report submitted to the court confirmed that there
were two Facebook accounts with the name and photograph of Kamel and that
Kamel had posted a warning that his Facebook account had been hacked, the court
handed him a six-year prison sentence. On the day of the trial, large numbers of
hardline Muslims crowded in front of the court house shouting aggressive Islamic
slogans and cheering against Kamel, even attempting to physically assault his
lawyer for daring to defend him.
Kamel’s lawyer appealed the sentence twice; the first time a higher court reduced
the sentence to four years in prison, and the second time Kamel has been acquitted.
Even though the acquittal is a relief, Ishaq Ibrahim of the Egyptian Initiative for
Personal Rights poses a legitimate question: who can compensate Kamel for the
three years that he already spent in prison, let alone the agony and humiliation
which he and his family had to go through?