Four Christian teenagers are jailed for five years in Egypt after they mocked Muslim prayers in a video
Coptic Christians were sentenced for contempt of Islam by Egyptian judge
Fourth defendant, 15, handed a juvenile detention for an indefinite period
The 33 seconds Video that Islamist claims makes fun of Islam and caused the five years sentences in Jail
Defence lawyer says video was mocking the beheadings carried out by ISIS
Their teacher, also seen in film, has already been sentenced to three years
Three Christian teenagers have been jailed for five years in Egypt after they were deemed to have mocked Muslim prayers in a video.
The Coptic Christians were sentenced for contempt of Islam by a judge in the central Egyptian province of Minya while a fourth defendant, 15, was handed a juvenile detention for an indefinite period.
Defence lawyer Maher Naguib said the four had not intended to insult Islam in the video, but merely to mock the beheadings carried out by ISIS jihadists.
When an Egyptian teacher filmed four Coptic Christian secondary school students impersonating terrorists from the so-called Islamic State, the boys could be seen laughing and joking.
Two and a half months later, the teacher, Gad Younan, 42, and four of the boys, ages 15 and 17, are in custody, awaiting trial for “contempt of religion.” The fifth boy fled his home village and, until recently, was wanted by police.
Younan faces a 3 year jail term . But whatever the outcome of the trial, which is ongoing, he has been “banished” from Al-Nasriyah village in Upper Egypt by fellow Christians hoping to appease local Muslims who reacted to the video by marching in the streets and pelting the homes and businesses of Christians with stones.
Defence lawyer Maher Naguib said the four had not intended to insult Islam in the video (pictured), but merely to mock the beheadings carried out by ISIS jihadists
The video was filmed on a mobile phone in January 2015 when the three teenagers, who were sentenced to five years, were aged between 15 and 17.
Their teacher who is also seen in the video has already been sentenced to three years in jail.
The four teenagers were still free as of Thursday and Naguib said he planned to appeal the judgement.
‘They have been sentenced for contempt of Islam and inciting sectarian strife,’ Naguib told AFP.
‘The judge didn’t show any mercy. He handed down the maximum punishment.’
In the video, one teenager can be seen kneeling on the ground and reciting Muslim prayers while others stand behind him, laughing.
The Coptic Christians were sentenced for contempt of Islam by a judge in the central Egyptian province of Minya while a fourth defendant, 15, was handed a juvenile detention for an indefinite period
Later one of them is seen making a sign with his thumb to indicate the beheading of the one who is kneeling.
The Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, an independent rights group, said ahead of Thursday’s judgement that it watched the video and found that the four teenagers were performing scenes ‘imitating slaughter carried out by terrorist groups’.
The Commission said in a statement that the four were detained for 45 days and subjected to ‘ill-treatment’ before being released pending trial.
The group warned that there was a return ‘of using contempt of religion as accusations against writers and religious minorities’.
Another rights group, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, said that between 2011 and 2013, 42 defendants were tried in similar cases and of them 27 were convicted.
Demyana Emad, a 23-year old Copt social studies teacher, was accused of contempt of Islam by her students and their parents was sentenced to four years in Jail.
In another case in September 2012 in Sohag, Bishoy Kamel, a Coptic religion teacher, was sentenced to six years for posting blasphemous cartoons and insults against President Mohammed Morsi on Facebook. He has always maintained his innocence and said that he is the victim of a plot.
On 13 September 2012, police arrested Saber Albert, a 28-year-old Coptic man for posting an anti-Islam film that caused demonstrations all over the world.
The poet Fatma Naoot in 2008. Ms. Naoot was given a three-year sentence in January for a Facebook post that criticized the slaughter of animals for the Muslim feast Eid al-Adha.
Egypt’s constitution outlaws insults against the three monotheist religions recognised by the state — Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
Copts, who comprise up to 10 percent of Egypt’s 90-million population, are the Middle East’s largest religious minority. They have long suffered sectarian violence including attacks on churches.
Ahmed Nagy. Mr. Nagy was given a two-year sentence for publishing an excerpt from his novel in a magazine that was deemed to have offended public morals.
In 2014, a Coptic Christian teacher was jailed for six months after parents of her students accused her of evangelising and of insulting Islam.
In a separate case the same year, a Coptic man was sentenced to six years for insulting Islam, after posting a picture of prophet Mohammed on his Facebook page with an insulting comment.
Thursday’s judgement comes a month after female writer Fatima Naoot was jailed for three years for insulting Islam after she criticised the slaughter of animals during a major religious festival.
Islam Al Behairy
And in December, an Egyptian court jailed controversial Muslim scholar Islam al-Behairy for one year for remarks he made on his television programme, in which he called for reforms in ‘traditional Islamic discourse’.
The most serious case occurred back in October in Bani Suef (Upper Egypt) when two Coptic children Nabil Nagy Rzik, 10, and Mina Nady Farag, 9, were arrested after local Islamic authorities accused them of urinating on some pages of the Koran.
Despite the resistance of their parents and the local priest, who pointed out that the two kids were illiterate, the imam of their village put pressure for their detention.