The Nasr City Misdemeanour Appeals Court upheld on Tuesday the primary court verdict sentencing Islamic preacher Ahmed Abdallah, known as “Abu Islam”, and his son Islam Abdallah to prison; however, their sentences were reduced to five years.
Abu Islam was sentenced to a total of 11 years of hard labour and fined EGP 3,000 in June; however, his sentence was suspended pending the appeal. He was sentenced on charges of contempt of religion, tearing the Bible and “disturbing peace and security”. His son was sentenced to eight years in prison and fined EGP 2,000 for tearing the same Bible and disturbing public peace.
Naguib Gabriel, Head of Egyptian Union for Human Rights and the lawyer who filed the lawsuit against Abu Islam, said that this is the first time an Egyptian Court has convicted a defendant for contempt of the Christian religion.
“We call on the Ministry of Interior to quickly arrest Abu Islam before he flees the country,” Gabriel said, adding that his son had already done so.
Abu Islam will also face trial on 25 December for describing female Christian protesters as “immoral”, Gabriel said. The lawyer had filed another lawsuit against Abu Islam, accusing him of insulting the Christian faith and women.
Abu Islam was the owner of the now shut-down Al-Omma satellite channel. He and his son tore a Bible on 11 September 2012 during a demonstration in front of the United States Embassy in Cairo to protest against the Innocence of Muslims, a film that sparked demonstrations across the Islamic world.