Cairo: 11 October, 2015
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) has renewed its condemnation of the enforceable 5-year in jail sentence that was issued against the researcher “Islam Al-Behairi” last June, and was upheld yesterday, Saturday, by the appeal court, against the backdrop of the charge of “contempt of religions”.
Masr Al-Kadima Appellant Court has thrown out the appeal against the 5-year in prison sentence issued against the researcher “Islam Al-Behairi”, and compelled him to pay the criminal costs. Moreover, it upheld the first degree verdict.
It is worth noting that, Masr Al-Kadima Misdemeanors Court last June sentenced Islam Al-Behairi, a researcher, to 5 years in jail with labor and execution together with the costs against the backdrop of the charge of “contempt of religions”. The court, in its finding, mentioned that the actus reus is available in the text of Article 98 of Penal Code, through the episodes of his talk show that proved the contempt of religions charge, as he insulted the Islamic leaders (Imams), in addition to saying that the heritage books are the reasons for proliferating terrorism, and insulting the religion’s fundamentals.
Noteworthy, Al-Behairi is being subject to several cases of harassment mainly depending on the contempt of religions charge pressed against him, such as Al-Azhar Institution and Salafi advocacy’s permanent attack on him, and the calls for banning his talk show on Kahera Wa Al-Nas (Cairo & People) satellite channel.
“In a democratic society, the opinion should not be faced by terrorization and trials, it rather be faced by another opinion; as long as that opinion does not implicate hate speech against a certain segment, or incitement to violence. On the other hand, the contempt of religions charge is vague through which the right to belief as well as the right to freedom of opinion and expression, which are enshrined in Articles 64 & 65 of Egypt’s Constitution, are dropped,” ANHRI said.
ANHRI calls for respecting the existing constitution and the binding international conventions, quashing all the communiqués and lawsuits against Islam Al-Behairi. Moreover, it calls for overturning the 5-year in prison sentence with labor, as a victory for freedom of opinion and expression.
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