A court upheld Tuesday the jail sentence of one of the Arab world's most famous comedic actors for insulting Islam in his films.
Haram misdemeanor court sentenced Adel Imam Tuesday to three months in jail and fined him LE100.
Imam was convicted in February of contempt of religion, which is criminalized under Article 98(f) of the Egyptian penal code. Imam appealed the verdict the same month.
It was latest such case against a high-profile figure, underlining concerns about freedom of expression in Egypt, where Islamist parties dominate Parliament after sweeping election victories.
Imam, 71, has acted in dozens of films in a career that spans nearly 50 years.
The case against Imam was brought by Asran Mansour, a lawyer with ties to Islamist groups.
Mansour accused Imam of blasphemy and ridiculing Islam and its symbols, including beards and the jilbab — a loose-fitting garment worn by some Muslims — in movies such as “Al-Irhab wal-Kabab” (“Terrorism and Kebab”), “Al-Irhabi” (“The Terrorist”) and “Teyour al-Zalam’’ (“Birds of Darkness”). The films were released in 1992, 1994 and 1995, respectively.
A judicial source told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the ruling allows Imam to pay a fine instead of serving the prison sentence, but the crime will be noted on his record.
Al-Masry Al-Youm learned that Imam did not attend the court session and learned of the verdict through his lawyer.
Imam's lawyers objected to the ruling, stating in their defense that Imam’s films had been approved by state censors who oversee artistic materials.
They said that this is not the first time such a case has been brought against Imam, and they called upon the court to overturn the previous ruling and acquit him.
The defense team also said that the prosecution did not prove that the films had caused harm and that the case was too late, as all the films in question were released in the 90s.