ICC Note: Bishoy Kameel Garas has finally been released after serving half of a six year jail sentence in Egypt. The Christian man was convicted despite having posted warning on his own Facebook page of an impersonation scandal as well as having alerted cyber police of the threat. He was arrested after angry mobs accused him of blaspheming against Islam, as is common in the region. Despite his acquittal, irreparable damage has been done to Garas and his family.
04/13/16 Egypt (Barnabas Said) – An Egyptian Christian, Bishoy Kameel Garas, has been declared “innocent” after spending more than half of his six-year sentence in jail. Bishoy was jailed in September 2012 for alleged defamation of Islam, as well as Egypt’s then President Mohammad Morsi and a Muslim sheikh’s sister. The charges all related to a fake Facebook page opened in his name.
Bishoy was convicted despite the fact that he had posted warnings on his own Facebook page about the fake account and alerted cyber police whose subsequent investigation reports attested to his innocence. As is common in cases of people accused of blasphemy against Islam, the court was besieged by mobs demanding his punishment and even accusing his defense lawyers of blasphemy for defending him.
Justice has been slow coming for Bishoy. On 25 July last year Cairo’s senior court quashed his prison sentence, although he was not actually released from prison until 9 October. However, it was not until 13 March this year that the high court finally declared him innocent.