"A man facing trial for publishing videos critical of religions should be
immediately released by the Egyptian authorities and all charges against him
dropped, Amnesty International said today.
Alber Saber Ayad, an activist
from the 2011 uprising, is charged with "defamation of religion". If convicted
he could receive a six-year prison sentence and a fine of 500 Egyptian Pounds
(US$82). His trial resumes on Wednesday before a Cairo misdemeanour
"Alber Saber Ayad is a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for
peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and should be released
immediately and unconditionally," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of
Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa
"Criticism of religions and other beliefs and ideas is a vital
component of the right to freedom of expression. Laws – such as blasphemy laws –
that criminalize such criticism violate human rights.
or mockery does not interfere with the individual believer’s freedom of
religion, however offensive they may find it."
Alber Saber Ayad told his
lawyers that while in detention, a police officer in El Marg Prison incited
other detainees to attack him.
The detainees beat Alber Saber Ayad and
cut him with a razor blade along his neck....."