Egyptian writer sentenced to 3 years in jail for ‘contempt of religion’

Egyptian writer Fatima Naoot.

Egyptian writer Fatima Naoot.

Egyptian writer Fatima Naoot was sentenced three years in jail and a LE20,000 ($2550) fine, after being found guilty of contempt of religion and blasphemy, reported Al-Ahram.

The misdemeanor court rejected an appeal by Naoot’s defence team against the sentence, upholding the sentence and the fine. While on Wednesday 30th March, 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,” he said.

The self-professed secularist was convicted on the basis of a Facebook post she wrote in October 2015 criticising the ethics of Eid Al-Adha’s 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, according to Al-Shrouq.

Naoot herself expressed in a facebook post that she’s ready to serve her jail sentence with high head and announced that Egypt’s minister of culture, Helmy El-Nemnem, expressed his solidarity with her as a writer and a minister.

Naoot 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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