Sawiris acquitted

29-02-2012 11:58 AM

Nader Shukry


The Qasr al-Nil Misdemeanours Court yesterday dismissed the case filed against the Coptic tycoon and political activist Naguib Sawiris, in which he was accused of disdaining Islam. The court said the plaintiff had no legal standing to bring the case against Sawiris

The Qasr al-Nil Misdemeanours Court yesterday dismissed the case filed against the Coptic tycoon and political activist Naguib Sawiris, in which he was accused of disdaining Islam. The court said the plaintiff had no legal standing to bring the case against Sawiris. 
Last June, Sawiris posted on his Twitter account a cartoon of Mickey and Minnie Mouse in conservative Islamic dress, jokingly suggesting the carton characters would be forced to wear a long beard and a face veil if Islamists took power. Even before Sawiris posted the cartoonon his Twitter account, it was all over Facebook and Twitter. But then some 15 lawyers filed a mm.61.jpgcomplaint against Sawiris for deriding Islam, they said.
In the wake of harsh attacks against him for posting the photo, Sawiris wrote on twitter on 24 June, “I apologise to any who couldn##t take this as a joke, I just thought it was a funny picture, no disrespect meant! Assef  (sorry).”
The plaintiff was fined EGP50 for filing the case. Meanwhile another case against Sawiris on the same charge of disdaining religion is expected to reach verdict on 3 March.
According to Naguib Gabrail, head of the Egyptian Union for human Rights Organisation, “The verdict reached by the Qasr al-Nil Misdemeanors Court closes the door before calls for hisbah—an Islamic principle according to which members of the community are considered custodians for the imposition of the law of Allah, and may decide to take to court those whom they see as sinners; the concept has been lately gaining popularity among Islamists.” 
Watani International
29 February 2012
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