Egyptian sentenced to 3 years in prison for Facebook posts

Egyptian sentenced to 3 years in prison for Facebook posts

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.”

This is not the first time an Egyptian has been jailed for insulting Islam. Under Mubarak’s rule, Egyptian blogger Kareem Amer was sentenced to 4 years in prison for insulting both Islam and the former president. He was released in November 2010. Amer disappeared briefly during the uprising that took place at the beginning of this year, only to be released a few days later.

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