by user Layla
Crossposted from The HILL Chronicles
I wrote an article several weeks ago referencing an Egyptian blogger that was jailed being accused of "insulting Islam". The judge in Egypt’s first trial prosecuting a blogger for writings critical of the country’s religious authorities said on Thursday he will deliver his verdict on February 22. Lawyers for Abdel Kareem Nabil say he could face up to 11 years in prison if convicted of insulting Islam by the court in the city of Alexandria.
Nabil told the court:
"I don’t see what I have done," he said from the defendant’s cage. "I expressed my opinion…the intention was not anything like these [charges]."
Nabil, a 22-year-old former student at Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, has often denounced Islamic authorities and criticized Mubarak on his Arabic-language blog. The judge, Ayman al-Akazi, said he would announce his verdict on February 22. The trial began in Alexandria on January 18.
Amnesty International is calling for Nabil’s "immediate and unconditional release." He was referred to as an "apostate":
Nabil "is being prosecuted on account of the peaceful expression of his views about Islam and the al-Azhar religious authorities," Malcolm Smart, the group’s Washington-based Middle East and North Africa Program director, said in a statement.
Nabil was thrown out of Al-Azhar University because of his writings and the institution pressed authorities to put him on trial.
Prosecution arguments in Thursday’s session were given by a team of Islamist lawyers who volunteered to serve as the "representatives of the people," an arrangement allowed under Egyptian law.
The government’s state prosecutors, who drew up the legal case against Nabil, were not present.
Nabil "has hurt every Muslim across the world," argued one of the lawyers, Mohammed Dawoud. He urged the judge to hand Karim the maximum punishment
Dawoud called Nabil an "apostate" sparking shouts from the defence lawyers and a heated exchange until the judge demanded order.
lt is imperative to note the verocity in which they want Nabil prosecuted:
Fellow defence lawyer Mohsen Bahnasawi argued that crimes related to the Internet were new in Egypt and that the penal code did not cover them.
Dawoud asked the judge to add a fourth charge of "insulting a sect," punishable with another five years in prison. The judge did not immediately respond.
"I want him [Nabil] to get the toughest punishment," Dawoud told The Associated Press. "I am on a jihad here … If we leave the likes of him without punishment, it will be like a fire that consumes everything."
Egyptian security forces arrested a number of bloggers last year - usually in connection with their links to protests by democratic reform activists.
All have been released, except Nabil, who was the only one to deal with the sensitive topic of religion in his writings.
In his blog, where he uses the name Kareem Amer, Nabil was a fierce critic of conservative Muslims and in particularly of al-Azhar, which he denounced as "the university of terrorism".
In reading the last sentence it is vitally important to note that there is no tolerance for any person who dissents from the views of Islam and speaks openly voicing their opinions of the Egyptian Government. Egypt is a theocracy and there is no acceptance or tolerance of separation of religion from government - they are synonymous.
There is little hope that the Egyptian Government would cooperate by releasing Nabil and granting the demand of Amnesty International. Unfortunately for Nabil he lives in Egypt where there is no tolerence - little compassion - and brutal punishment to any and all that insult the "religion of peace".