Court upholds sentence against TV host Islam al-Behairy

Cairo Court of Cassation rejected on Sunday an appeal filed by the Islamic researcher Islam al-Beheiry and upheld a one-year sentence given to him by Masr al-Qadima Misdemeanor Court of Appeals for blasphemy.

Beheiry was taken to court by lawyers after the television discussion show that he hosted at the time provoked upset within Al-Azhar, Egypt's influential center of Islamic scholarship, reported Aswat Masriya. He was handed a five-year prison sentence on charges of contempt of religion.

Beheiry appealed, and in December Masr al-Qadima court reduced his sentence to one year.

Despite an appeal to further reduce the sentence, on Sunday it was ruled that the television host-cum-researcher would serve his one-year sentence. 

In April, Behairy announced the suspension of his program With Islam on Al-Kahera wal Nas satellite channel due to disagreements with the station's management, without offering any further details on the reasons behind the suspension.

Later, Al-Kahera wal Nas channel issued a statement saying the program was suspended "to protect national interests, out of respect for a large segment of society, and in response to the request of the Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar."

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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