Suez Canal University student Sherif Gaber Abdel Azim was handed a renewed 15-day detention on Wednesday by the Third Circuit Ismailia Misdemeanours Court. Abdel Azim was arrested after being charged with contempt of religion and insulting messengers and prophets, according to the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE).
An arrest warrant was issued for the student on 26 October and he was detained for four days pending investigations after standing before the public prosecution. He allegedly created a Facebook group called “atheists” and had been questioned by university administration in April following complaints filed by fellow students.
Last year, blogger Alber Saber was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of “contempt of the Muslim and Christian religions” after prosecutors accused him of starting Facebook pages that offend both God and the Muslim and Christian religions. Alber, an open atheist, paid an EGP 1,000 bail and filed an appeal before leaving the country.
Investigations and trials for contempt of religion have dramatically increased since 2011.