(Aswat Masriya) Egyptian author Karam Saber said that a misdemeanor court in Beni Suef sentenced him to five years on Wednesday on charges of insulting religion in a collection of short stories he wrote two years ago titled “Where is God?”
The politically active author told Aswat Masriya in a phone call on Wednesday that he plans to appeal the verdict through a legal challenge he will present to the court tomorrow.
Charges of “insulting religion” against authors, artists, television hosts and Coptic Christians have increased in recent months.
A group of plaintiffs filed a complaint against Saber in 2011, accusing him of insulting religion, but the case was only referred to the court this year.
Saber, on the other hand, insists that the collection of short stories is a work of literature that shall not be measured using “religious standards”, he told AM, adding that he will continue to defend his right of expression inside and outside of the court.
Charges of insulting religion started emerging under the Hosni Mubarak regime that was toppled in an uprising in 2011 but convictions have increased since the rise of Islamists to power.
Commenting on how the case brought against him includes reports from Al-Azhar, the Church and the State Security apparatus confirming that his works do in fact insult religion, Saber asked, “Who are these institutions to evaluate works of literature?”