Ayman Yousef Mansour has become the second Egyptian, since the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak, to be sentenced to 3 years in jail for online self-expression.
Unlike Maikel Nabil whose three year sentence was for a blog post deemed insulting to the military, Mansour’s crime took place on Facebook, and has been deemed insulting to Islam.
According to the official MENA news agency, Mansour was tried in a criminal court, and his ruling stated that he “intentionally insulted the dignity of the Islamic religion and attacked it with insults and ridicule on Facebook.” While it remains unclear exactly what the posts contained, Egyptian daily, Al Masry Al Youm reported that the court stated that the posts on the Facebook page threatened national unity.
Police tracked Mansour online, arresting him in August, and today, the court found him to be “in contempt of religion, ” a charge which can lead to a sentencing of anywhere from six months to five years in prison.
Speaking about the charge, Heba Morayef of Human Rights Watch told AP, that it ”is a very vague provision, and it has long been the recommendation of human rights groups to remove that provision.”