Egypt: Author sentenced to five years in prison for insulting religion
Egyptian author and human rights activist Karam Saber has been sentenced to five years in prison, after a court found his writings to have insulted religion, reported the Egyptian news website Aswat Masriya.
The complaint against Karam Saber and his book ‘Ayn Allah’ (‘Where Is God?’) was initially filed in 2011, shortly after the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak’s regime. Similar charges against authors, artists, television hosts and Coptic Christians of “insulting religion” have increased in Egypt in recent months, wrote Aswat Masriya.
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information condemned the charges against Karam Saber when they were made, citing “deep concern of the return of religious and political Hesba cases.”
Hesba cases (also written as hisbah) stem from Islamic Sharia law, allowing “all Muslims the right to file lawsuits in cases where an exalted right of God has been violated, even if this does not directly harm them,” as Ahram Online reported.
Karam Saber told Aswat Masriay that he planned to appeal the verdict through a legal challenge he would present to the court.
Karam Saber’s Facebook page:
Aswat Masriya – 13 June 2013:
Egyptian author sentenced to five years for insulting religion
NPR – 12 June 2013:
Egyptian Author Sentenced To Prison For Book ‘Where Is God?’
by Bill Chappell