07/28/2021 Egypt (International Christian Concern) – On July 15, 2020 a young 17-year-old Coptic Egyptian man was detained for blasphemy charges for comments made on Facebook. One year later on July 18, 2021, he was finally allowed to walk free after his time in prison. He admitted that he had made the comments against Muhammad via an account under a different name.
During his imprisonment, he faced additional complications such as cockroaches, unsanitary conditions, and extreme temperatures. Just one day after his return home, police knocked on his door, telling him to leave the village because it was no longer safe. They added that if he were to refuse their order, he’s already met all of the officers at the station. The young Copt fled immediately to a safer location with his family.
The newly released Copt was jailed with four other Copts, all charged with similar blasphemy accusations. According to the Coptic’s lawyer, “this kind of blasphemy cases are very delicate issues. The judges are stressed and under many pressures, like the fear of harming his religion or prophet by acquittal the Copts, aggravating the extremist leaders by releasing the Copts out, and worrying about the public opinion. It’s very hard for the judges to try to ignore the prosecutor’s reports and all of these pressures then focus on the defense’s argument.”
Another Coptic man, Abd, was recently released after serving his prison sentence for blasphemy allegations, while many more Coptic Egyptians suffer in prison under the same charges. Some face charges on concocted stories of false blasphemy, though others have confessed to speaking out against Islam. Regardless of the origin, Egypt’s Christians face restrictions on their freedom of speech regarding their religious beliefs and convictions.
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