AFRICA/EGYPT - Copt Organisation asks President al Sisi to grant an amnesty to Copt youths wrongly condemned for offending Islam

Tuesday, 1 March 2016 discrimination  

Cairo (Agenzia Fides) – Karim Kamal, founder of the Union General of Copts for the Motherland, has asked the President of Egypt Abdel Fattah al Sisi to intervene regarding the case of a group of Copt youths recently accused of verbally offending Islam and sentenced to five years in prison. Kamal urges Egypt’s Head of State to grant amnesty to the young men in question. But the request, made public in the Egyptian media, also expresses harsh criticism of the law on blasphemy and offence to religion, misused to persecute innocent people, while extremists and fomenters of religious hatred go unpunished.
The case in question in the appeal addressed to al Sisi involves four Copt students charged with offending the Islamic religion, by sharing in the Spring of 2015 a video-clip of a few seconds, recorded on a mobile phone, in which they mime the scene of the slitting of the throat of a Muslim in prayer, imitating the horrendous executions carried out by Jihadists of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (Daesh). At the end of February (see Fides 26/2/2016) the Egyptian court in Minya issued a heavy sentence to the young men: three will serve five years in prison, and the fourth, not yet eighteen years old, will be sent to a guarded residence for minor offenders. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 1/3/2016).