In Egypt, a Christian teacher was sentenced to six months in an Egyptian prison after losing her appeal. She has reportedly been convicted on a blasphemy charge. Her denied appeal comes as a shock and many human rights activists are calling this a false conviction. With a new president in power, things do not seem to be getting better for religious minorities in Egypt.
06/18/14 Egypt (Morning Star News) – A Coptic woman has lost her appeal of what human rights activists call a false conviction for blaspheming Islam and has been sentenced to six months in an Egyptian prison.
The appellate court ruling, handed down on Sunday (June 15), shocked the Christian woman, 25-year-old Demyana Abd al-Nour, her family and human rights advocates. As Al-Nour fled the country last year, the ruling practically guarantees that she will spend the rest of her life in exile from Egypt.
Al-Nour originally had been sentenced to pay a fine of 100,000 Egyptian pounds (US$14,270), an exorbitant amount that her family could not pay. The judge in the Luxor Court of Appeals, Chancellor Ahmed Abd-Al Maksoud, replaced the fine with the prison sentence.
Ebed Abd Al-Nour, her father, said she was “devastated” by the decision.
“She hasn’t done anything wrong to deserve this,” he said. “This sentence has ruined her future.”
Safwat Samaan, chairman of Nation Without Borders, a human rights and development group headquartered in Luxor, Egypt, said the case for Al-Nour’s acquittal was overwhelming. He and other human rights activists in Egypt expected a full acquittal.
“The ruling is unfair and discriminatory,” Samaan said. “Nobody, not the lawyers, myself, the family – nobody expected that she would be sentenced to prison. They all thought she would be found innocent.”