Last updated: 16 June, 2014

Egypt jails Coptic teacher for insulting Islam

An Egyptian appeals court jailed a female Coptic Christian teacher for six months after parents of her students accused her of evangelising and insulting Islam, her lawyer said on Monday.

The primary school teacher had appealed after a court in the southern city of Luxor fined her 100,000 Egyptian pounds (around $13,980 or 10,325 euros) after some parents filed a case against her.

The prosecution, which also appealed the original sentence, had asked for a jail sentence.

On Sunday the appeals court issued its verdict, her lawyer Badawi Abu Shanab said, adding that she can still lodge a further appeal before the court of cassation.

“She has been jailed for six months. She was accused of telling students that (late Coptic pope) Shenuda III was better than the Prophet Mohammed”, Abu Shanab told AFP.

However, he added that the director of the school where his client taught “testified that she didn’t do anything”.

Egypt’s constitution outlaws insults against the three monotheist religions recognised by the state — Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

Copts, who comprise up to 10 percent of the country’s 86-million population, are the Middle East’s largest religious minority, and have long suffered sectarian violence including attacks on churches.