Islam El-Beheiry (Photo: Al-Ahram)
An Egyptian misdemeanors court late Saturday sentenced TV presenter Islam El-Beheiry to five years in jail on charges of "blasphemy" over a controversial show he presents about Islam.
The case was filed by lawyer Mohamed Abdel Salam.
Previously broadcast on private TV channel Al-Qahera W Al-Nas, El-Beheiry's show With Islam has tackled controversial issues such as punishment for apostasy, the debate on early marriage, and different interpretations of the Hadith, the sayings and teachings of Islam's Prophet Muhammed.
The ruling could be appealed in front of the Cairo Court of Appeal.
In early April, Al-Azhar, the country's leading Sunni Islam institute, filed an official complaint against El-Beheiry’s show with the Free Media Zone, the state department in charge of managing cable TV channel contracts.
Effat Abdel-Azim, the head of the Free Media Zone, confirmed receiving the complaint, along with CDs allegedly showing that El-Beheiry had insulted the fundamentals of Islam.
The presenter wrote on his Facebook page on 22 April that the programme had been suspended due to "disputes with the channel."