Egyptian court orders detention of student on 'insulting religion' charges

Ahram Online, Wednesday 30 Oct 2013

Suez university files a report against student for forming an 'atheist' Facebook group

An Ismailiya misdemeanour court has ordered the detention of a Suez Canal University student for 15 days, pending investigations on accusations that he insulted religion, the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) said.

Sherif Gaber was arrested on Sunday after his university administration filed a report against him saying he formed a Facebook group for atheists. 

Gaber's arrest sparked attention on social media websites. Activists created a Facebook page titled "Freedom for Sherif Gaber." A hash-tag with the same name is also active on Twitter. 

Charges of insulting religion were used to target political activists during ousted president Hosni Mubarak's era.

In December 2012, under former president Mohamed Morsi's rule, an Egyptian court sentenced activist Alber Saber to three years in jail for posting the anti-Islamic film Innocence of Muslims on his Facebook page. He was released later after paying bail.

Article 98 of Egypt's penal code says anyone convicted of offending religion in any form can face up to six years in prison. 

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