Egyptian court upholds verdict against comedian for insulting Islam
An Egyptian court upheld a three-month jail term on Tuesday for the Arab World's most known comedian on charges of insulting Islam, amid growing concerns for freedom of speech in the country, dpa reported.
Adel Imam, 72, was sentenced in absentia by a lower court in February, for the defamation of Islam in seven of his works, including the 1994 film Al-Irhabi (The Terrorist), in which he portrays an Islamist extremist, and the play Al-Zaeem (The Leader), a comedy in which Imam plays the role of an Arab dictator.
The court upheld the sentence and ordered him to pay a fine of 100 Egyptian pounds (17 dollars). Imam has the right to appeal.
This year's parliamentary elections have produced a strong showing for Islamists in Egypt, sparking concerns over freedom among liberals and Copts, who make up some 10 per cent of Egypt's 80 million inhabitants.
Earlier this year, two cases were brought against prominent businessman Naguib Sawiris, who was accused of insulting Islam - although they were dismissed by the courts.
Many conservative Muslims were angered when Sawiris, a Christian, posted on his Twitter account in June an image of Mickey Mouse with a beard and his counterpart, Minnie, wearing a full-face veil.