CAIRO, Sept 27, 2012 (AFP) -
CAIRO, Sept 27, 2012 (AFP) –
An Egyptian court on Thursday upheld the six-year sentence of an Egyptian Christian for mocking the Muslim Prophet Mohammed and insulting the president, judicial sources told AFP.
Beshoi al-Beheiry, from the central province of Sohag, was sentenced on September 18 by a criminal court.
On Thursday, Judge Tarek al-Nafrawi upheld the lower court’s ruling. The latest decision cannot be appealed, judicial sources said.
Beheiry was sentenced to three years in prison for defaming Islam after posting offensive cartoons of the prophet on Facebook, the sources said.
The teacher was sentenced to an additional two years for insulting President Mohamed Morsi and one year for insulting the person who sued him over the cartoons.
The case is likely to fuel the fears of Copts, who have been concerned that the rise of Islamists and the worldwide backlash from an anti-Islam film made in the United States could lead to further persecution at home.
On Wednesday, the trial opened of another Copt, Albert Saber, who is accused of blasphemy, insulting religions and inciting sectarianism through his Internet postings, including clips from the film.
The low-budget film made in the United States entitled “Innocence of Muslims” caused outrage for mocking Islam and portraying Mohammed as violent and immoral.
Saber faces up to five years behind bars in a case that has sparked condemnation from human rights groups and raised concerns over freedom of expression under Islamist Morsi, Egypt’s first president since strongman Hosni Mubarak was ousted by a popular uprising.
Copts have repeatedly criticised the authorities for what they say are double standards when it comes to cases of blasphemy and offence to religion.
Egypt’s Christians, who make up six to 10 percent of the country’s population of 82 million, have regularly complained of discrimination and marginalisation. They have also been the target of numerous sectarian attacks.