Rights groups demand acquittal for writer charged with blasphemy
Karam Saber - YOUM7(Achive)

Forty-six rights groups on Monday demanded charges be dropped against activist and writer convicted of contempt of religion.

Karam Saber has been sentenced to five-year imprisonment in absentia in May on the background of reports accusing him of blasphemy for writing and publishing the story book “Where is Allah”.

Saber is expected to stand a retrial on Tuesday before the Beba Misdemeanor Court in Beni Suef governorate, Upper Egypt.
The case’s proceedings go back to 12 April 2011, when some citizens in Beni Suef governorate filed a complaint with the attorney general in Beni Suef; accusing Saber of publishing the story book, consists of 11 stories, titled “Where is Allah” contains statements insulting of religious beliefs.

The groups, in a statement issued Monday, expressed reservations over procedures taken by Public Prosecution.
The statement said that the prosecution’s office consulted the Copt Orthodox Church in Beni Suef and an Al-Azhar affiliated body over the literary work of Saber. Both sides condemned the writer.

The statement said that the prosecution got these two sides involved to convict the writer; despite that these religious institutions have no right to voice opinion at any creative or literary work.

The statement warned that such cases against writers and activists threaten freedom of expression and creativity.
Groups singed the statement included: The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), The Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement, and Hisham Mubarak Law Center (HMLC).

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