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Implications for Religious Minorities
Implications for Rights and Freedoms

Alber Saber Blasphemy Case

Court / Presiding Judge

Al-Marg Misdemeanour Court/Judge Muhammad Moussa

Procedural History

On December 12, 2012, the Al-Marg Misdemeanour Court sentenced Alber Saber. Alber was released on LE 1,000 bail pending his appeal.

Verdict

Alber Saber was sentenced to three years in prison. Pending his appeal, Saber was released on LE1,000 bail.

Summary of Reasoning

This case dates back to September 24, 2012, when a crowd gathered outside of Alber Saber’s house and demanded that he be arrested for allegedly posting a link to a film that portrayed the Prophet Muhammad in a negative light. He was arrested then, and in December 2012, he was sentenced to three years in prison for insulting Islam (blasphemy).

Anecdotal Notes

In this particular case, Alber Saber denied posting the film online. When he was arrested, police also confiscated his personal computer and CDs and allegedly investigated defamatory statements about Islam and Christianity found on them. While in detention, Saber was held in poor prison conditions; during his case, the judge refused to allow the defense to call key witnesses. After Saber was released, he left Egypt.

Legal & Judicial Implications

In addition to concerns about blasphemy sentences violating an individual’s constitutionally and internationally guaranteed rights to freedom of expresision and belief, nongovernmental organizations have also pointed to the disproportionate number of blasphemy prosecutions involving religious minorities, thus furthering discrimination. Alber’s affiliation as an atheist also raises serious questions about the politicized nature of this case. The court’s failure to allow defense witnesses to participate and proper evidence to be entered on Alber’s behalf raise additional questions on the due process violations at hand.