An Egyptian Copt, Bishoy Kameel Garas, has been declared ‘innocent’ after he spent more than half his 6-year sentence for charges including defamation of Islam, the Cairo Court of Cassation has ruled.
Garas, now in his late twenties, was jailed in September 2012 for offending the country’s dominant religion, the then-Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, and a Muslim sheikh’s sister. The charges related to Facebook posts found on a fake page opened in his name.
On 25 July 2015, Cairo’s senior court had ruled against the prison sentence, but it took Garas until 9 October 2015 to be released.
Despite mounting evidence weighing on the side of his acquittal, the prosecution and two lower courts insisted on condemning the Christian, until the higher court finally declared him innocent on 12 March 2016.
As with other blasphemy cases levelled against Christians and seculars, the proceedings were bedevilled by mob pressure and judicial religious prejudice. Coptic activists insist the proceedings were a travesty from the beginning.
Garas, a teacher of English, had posted warnings on his own Facebook page about the fake account and alerted cyber police. Still, he was sentenced despite claims of a named hacker and cyber investigation reports attesting to his innocence.
Source: World Watch Monitor