Egyptian court upholds three year jail sentence for writer Fatma Naoot

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Thursday 31 Mar 2016

Naoot had questioned the practice of slaughtering sheep as part of the Islamic feast of Eid Al-Adha

Fatima Naoot
Egyptian writer Fatma Naoot (Photo courtesy of Fatma Naoot's Facebook account)

A Cairo misdemeanour court upheld Thursday a three-year jail sentence handed down on Egyptian writer Fatma Naoot for contempt of religion. 

In January, Naoot was sentenced to three years in prison and fined EGP 20,000 (over $2550) after being found guilty of charges related to blasphemy.

The misdemeanor court rejected an appeal by Naoot's defence team Thursday against the sentence, upholding the sentence and the fine. Neither Naoot nor her defence team attended today's court session.  

On Wednesday, Naoot said on her official Facebook account she was travelling to Canada to attend the "The First Egyptian-Canadian Conference in Toronto," where several issues including blasphemy laws and freedom of expression would be discussed, according to the writer.

However, Naoot's lawyer Sherif Adib told Ahram Online that Naoot will still present an appeal document in ten days. 

If the court rejects the yet to be presented appeal document, Naoot will appeal the sentence before of Court of Cassation. 

The self-professed secularist was convicted on the basis of a Facebook post she wrote in October 2015 criticising on ethical grounds the Eid Al-Adha tradition of slaughtering sheep.

"[It's] a yearly massacre because a good man once had a nightmare about his good son, and although the nightmare has passed for the good man and his son, the [sheep] pay their lives as a price for that holy nightmare," Naoot also wrote in an article in the daily Al-Masry Al-Youm.

During questioning, Naoot acknowledged writing the Facebook post but denied that her aim was to insult Islam. Naoot argued that humans justified their lust for killing and enjoying the smell of game cooking by attempting to bestow a divine meaning on their actions.

The writer is the second public figure to be convicted of blasphemy in the past few months. In December, TV host and researcher Islam Behery was sentenced to one year in prison for "contempt of religion" after questioning orthodox Islamic beliefs on his now-suspended TV show on Al-Qahera Wal-Nas channel.


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