Last updated: 9 January, 2012

Egypt Copt tycoon faces trial for religious tweet

Egyptian telecom magnate Naguib Sawiris faces trial for insulting religion after tweeting a caricature of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in Islamic garb, an Islamist lawyer who filed a legal complaint against him said Monday.

The court will hear the case against Sawiris, a billionaire Coptic Christian who founded the liberal Free Egyptians party, on January 14, said the lawyer Mamduh Ismail, a member of the ultra-conservative Al-Gamaa al-Islamiya group.

“The case has been referred to court,” said Ismail.

But the prosecution, which refers such cases to courts, could not confirm that Sawiris would go on trial.

Sawiris sparked a firestorm of criticism after tweeting a cartoon of Mickey Mouse with a beard and Minnie Mouse in a face veil, joking that the cartoon characters would be forced to dress conservatively if Islamists took power.

He apologised for the caricature after Islamists called for a boycott of his cell phone service provider Mobinil.

The list that Sawiris’ party was on won no more than 15 percent of the vote over three rounds of parliamentary elections since November that have been dominated by Islamists.

He could not be reached for comment.