CAIRO, Jan 26 (Aswat Masriya) - A Cairo court sentenced writer and poet Fatma Naoot to three years in prison and fined her EGP 20,000 (around $2,550) for "contempt of Islam".
Naoot responded to the court's decision with, "thanks to the judiciary of kind Egypt", also thanking those who "accuse us of being in contempt of religion when they misspell the word Allah," in a message she sent out on her social media accounts.
Naoot was brought to court for comments she made in October 2014 when she criticised the Islamic ritual of sacrificing animals on the day of Eid al-Adha in a post she wrote on Facebook. During the religious holiday, Eid al-Adha, Muslims slaughter cattle in a symbol of sacrifice. Naoot described the act as an annual "massacre".
In reference to Prophet Ibrahim, she said that although the "nightmare" of one of the pious men concerning his righteous son has passed in peace, helpless creatures pay the price every year for this "holy nightmare".
Naoot was referred to trial in December 2014 for "contempt of the Islamic religion and mockery of an Islamic ritual" after a group of lawyers filed a complaint against her.
During investigation, Naoot affirmed that she had published the Facebook post, but strongly denied contempt of Islam, adding that she is a Muslim, and what she wrote on Facebook was a gesture of humour aimed at her readers.
Naoot's trial has received some flak and the press syndicate's legal adviser once said that her case is related "to freedom of expression and opinion," adding that the syndicate stands with her.
In a statement in January 2015, the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) called for the case to be dropped and said this trial should not have been brought to court in the first place.
"Regardless of agreement or disagreement [with opinions], citizens do not have the right to appoint themselves as agents of religion and society" and to legally pursue people with different opinions, ANHRI said in a statement.