The Egyptian Organization for human rights [EOHR] calls upon to drop down the charge of contempt of religion.

February 28th, 2016 by Editor

The Egyptian Bani Mazar misdemeanor court sentenced four Coptic students to five years in jail for the charge of contempt of Islam

The Egyptian Organization for human rights [EOHR] calls upon to drop down the charge of contempt of religion.

Beni Mazar Juvenile Misdemeanor Court Thrusday, February 25, ruled on the case no. 350 of 2015 to imprison three Coptic students (Mueller Atef Edward, Alber Ashraf and Bassem  Amjad) for five years in jail each one due to the charge of contempt of Islam and the fourth (Clinton Magdy)was sent to  a juvenile detention facility for the same period because of his age.

The proceedings of the case were back to a report was submitted by the families of Al-Naseriya village in northern Minya to Beni Mazar police station stating that a teacher named Gad Youssef Younan disdained Islam through posting a 30-minute video which contains affronts to Muslims, and contempt of religions as the video shows a mocking play performance on the practices of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Beni  Mazar Prosecution  charged the defendants with practicing Islamic rituals in a way which not consistent with the true religion and posting this video on one of the media means. As a Christians; that was considered as contempt of Islam through imitates the rite of prayer to cause a sectarian commotion.

And the mentioned were imprisoned as pre-trial detention however they were released in one of the opposition sessions before the tribunals, the prosecution divided the case file into two lawsuits the first case of The teacher “ Jad Younan” no. 19794 Beni Mazar Misdemeanor  and the second of the four children no. 350 .

 

The court sentenced, in the first case, the teacher to three years imprisonment on charges of contempt of Islam , videotaping a clip mocking the rituals of the Islamic religion and prompting  the children to publicize the clip and in the second case five years imprisonment were handed down to the children.

 

The EOHR consider that the freedom of belief is one of the fundamental human rights and it is accessible for all humans, the freedom of religion and belief is guaranteed under the constitution and the global human rights conventions and it is considered to be a guarantee to enjoy individuals’ full freedom of belief and practicing their religious ceremonies and rites of worship not to be used by the authority to penalize people due to their actions.

 

Therefore, EOHR believe that we need to change the penal in the body of Article 98 that provides” the penalty of Imprisonment to Any person who exploits religion in order to promote or advocate extremist ideologies by word of mouth, in writing or in any other manner with a view to stirring up sedition, disparaging or belittling any divinely-revealed religion or its adherents, or prejudicing national unity or social harmony”[1].

 

Accordingly, EOHR Calls upon to amend this legislative provisions due to its clear contradiction with the Egyptian Constitution, especially Article 64 that states “the ultimate freedom of belief[2]-as well as the global human rights conventions tackling the freedom of belief-, and to drop all the charges brought against those children under those provisions and annulling all the laws that restricting freedoms with accordance to the spirit of the Egyptian Constitution and to open up a debate includes  all parties about establishing The Anti-discrimination commission and putting restrictions on hate speech and incitement to violence.

 

On his Part Hafez Abu Seada, head of the Egyptian Organization for human rights, emphasized that the legislative environment is rife with provisions that should be amended to be consistent with the Egyptian constitution and the international conventions on human rights.

 

Abu Seada added that such cases lead to inflame emotions and raising the sensitivity of tensions inside the Egyptian community and Abu seada stressed on the importance of the principles of dialogue and toleration and the acceptance of others as indispensable principles in any society that respects the rights and freedoms of citizens.


[1] Egyptian Constitution Article 98,2014

[2] Egyptian constitution Article 64,2014

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