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Implications for Religious Minorities
Implications for Rights and Freedoms

Gamal Abdu Masoud Blasphemy Case

Court / Presiding Judge

First Review: Assiut Juvenile Court
Second Review: Assiut Misdemeanour Appeal Court

Procedural History

On April 4, 2012, the Assiut juvenile court sentenced Gamal Abdu Massoud. On May 30, 2012, the verdict was upheld upon second review.

Verdict

Gamal Abdu Masoud was sentenced to three years in prison. This sentence was upheld upon second review.

Summary of Reasoning

This case dates back to the drawings and cartoons that 17-year-old Gamal Abdu Massoud had allegedly made, posted to his Facebook, and distributed among his friends. Gamal was accused of and ultimately sentenced for insulting Islam (blasphemy).

Anecdotal Notes

News of Gamal’s drawings led to anti-Christian protests in Assiut, during which his house was firebombed and various Christian businesses were burned. Gamal denied all charges brought against him.

Legal & Judicial Implications

Gamal’s sentence as a minor and as a Christian raises concern in light of the spike of defamation and blasphemy charges brought against religious minorities. There are also concerns about how defamation and blasphemy charges violate an individual’s constitutionally and internationally guaranteed right to freedom of expression and belief.