A Mansoura criminal court handed down jail terms on Wednesday to 42 people who attempted to prevent the burial of a doctor killed by the coronavirus in April out of fear the burial would allow the virus to spread.
The court sentenced 23 defendants to one year and two others to three years. It also sentenced 17 other defendants in absentia to 10 years in prison.
The sentence is not final and can still be appealed.
In April, police fired tear gas and arrested 23 people in Shobra El-Bahw village in Daqahliya after protesters attempted to prevent the burial of the 64-year-old doctor.
A video shared on social media in April showed authorities firing tear gas to disperse protesters in the village.
The incident was not the first to see people opposing the burial of coronavirus victims over the misconception that this would allow the virus to spread.
The burials of coronavirus victims are often being held in secret in Egypt under police supervision with the attendance of only close family members.
Egypt’s Dar Al-Ifta – the authority in charge of issuing religious edicts – said it is not religiously permitted to prevent burials.
The Islamic religious authority has deemed that those killed by the coronavirus are deemed “martyrs” due their pain and suffering and has forbid the harassment of those infected with the virus.