Egypt sentences 4 Coptic students to 5 years in jail for contempt of Islamic religion

Ahram Online , Thursday 25 Feb 2016

Coptic students
Snapshot from the Coptic students' video, which purportedly contains remarks insulting Islam.

Four Coptic Christian school students, ages 15 and 16, have been sentenced on Thursday by a Minya court to five years in jail on charges of contempt of religion.

Minya's Juvenile Misdemeanor Court sentenced Mueller Atef, Albert Ashraf, and Bassem Amgad to five years in jail, and Clinton Magdy to juvenile custody for five years.

The case against the four boys stems back to a legal complaint filed in 2015 by some Muslim residents in Nasiriyah village in Minya which accused a Coptic teacher and five of his students of insulting Islam.

Today, the court convicted four of the five boys on the contempt of religion charges based on a video clip shot of them by their teacher in February 2015 during a trip organised by the Evangelical church.

Those verdicts can still be appealed.

In the video, the boys are seen mocking members of the Islamic State group beheading an individual after the militants finish Islamic prayers.

On 30 January 2016, the boys teacher, Gad Youssef Younan, was concicted of contempt of religion for shooting the clip, and sentenced to three years in jail.

Coptic Christians make up roughly 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 90 million.

Egyptian courts have recently convicted several individuals, both Muslim and Christian, of contempt of religion in various court cases involving citizen complaints against behaviour deemed sacreligious.

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