The state security court issued a verdict on Wednesday sentencing six expatriate Coptic Egyptians to the death penalty for offending the Islamic faith, on charges related to producing the anti-Islamic film 'The Innocence of Muslims'.
Bishop Marcus of the Coptic Orthodox Church described the sentence as "harsh", while asserting that the church rejects any offence towards any religion.
The US-made film provoked angry protests throughout much of the Islamic world in September, including Egypt and Libya.
Maurice Sadek, a conservative Coptic Christian living in the US, and controversial Pastor Terry Jones, who is known for his burning of the Quran, are believed to have been involved in promoting the film but were not involved in its production, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal.
Egyptian-born Coptic Christian Mark Basseley Youssef, also known by his alias Sam Baccil, later acknowledged creating the film, in an interview with the New York Times.
Meanwhile, the controversial film has resulted in the arrest of several people in Egypt, mostly Copts accused of sharing the film.
Bishoy Kamel, a Coptic school teacher, was sentenced to six years for sharing the film on his Facebook page and for insulting the president.
Coptic activist Alber Saber, who also allegedly shared the film, remains in detention.