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Coptic teacher loses appeal, sentenced to prison in Egypt comment (0)

July 3, 2014

AL-EDISAT, Egypt — A Coptic woman has lost her appeal of what human rights activists call a false conviction for blaspheming Islam and has been sentenced to six months in an Egyptian prison.

The appellate court ruling, handed down June 15, shocked the Christian woman, 25-year-old Demyana Abd al-Nour, her family and human rights advocates. As Al-Nour fled the country in 2013, the ruling practically guarantees that she will spend the rest of her life in exile from Egypt.

On April 10, 2013, a small group of Islamist parents and teachers at Sheikh Sultan Primary School in Al-Edisat accused Al-Nour of teaching coursework that implied disapproval of Islam’s prophet Muhammad. 

Al-Nour originally had been sentenced to pay a fine of the equivalent of $14,270. The judge in the Luxor Court of Appeals replaced the fine with the prison sentence.

Safwat Samaan, chairman of Nation Without Borders, a human rights and development group headquartered in Luxor, Egypt, said the case for Al-Nour’s acquittal was overwhelming. He and other human rights activists in Egypt expected a full acquittal.

There is one more chance for appeal in the Court of Cassation, but Samaan said that because Al-Nour must be in prison to appeal and the legal process would take longer than her sentence, she will now apply for political asylum, likely in France. 

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