Acquitted after three years in prison for deriding Islam

14-03-2016 07:27 PM

Nader Shukry

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?

Watani International

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