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Four Coptic Christian Teenagers Imprisoned for ‘Contempt of Islam’

Four Coptic Christian Teenagers Imprisoned for ‘Contempt of Islam’

Credit: Reuters
Credit: Reuters

An Egyptian court has sentenced four Coptic Christian teenagers to five years in prison after finding them guilty of contempt of religion.

The Minya Juvenile Misdemeanor Court sentenced three of the teenagers, aged between 15 and 16, to five years in prison after they appeared in a video that allegedly insulted Islam. The fourth teenager was sentenced to five years in juvenile detention.

While the students claimed that they were making fun of ISIS, the 32-second video appears to be mocking Islamic prayer generally and shows one teenager faking a beheading.

The case made headlines in 2015 after a legal complaint was filed by members of the public from the Nasiriyah village in Minya.

The legal complaint accused five teenagers and their teacher of insulting Islam. The teacher was sentenced to three years in prison, also on charges of contempt of religion, in January 2016.

Egypt’s Constitution outlaws contempt of religion generally, including of Christianity and Judaism.
According to the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, 27 people have been convicted for contempt of religion between 2011 and 2013. Those convicted include both Muslims and Christians, including one television show host and a writer.
Coptic Christians make up almost 10 percent of Egypt’s population. In the past decade, sectarian violence has often erupted between Muslims and Christians across Egypt.

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