Rights group condemns detention of Copt over video

A group defending freedom of expression condemning the detention of a Coptic citizen pending investigation into a video clip he allegedly made criticizing religion.

“Albert Ayyad was arrested last Thursday evening, when crowds of citizens gathered in front of his house in the Marg neighborhood in Eastern Cairo,” the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression said in a statement. “The masses were chanting and repeating provocative slogans inciting his murder, after claiming that he had defamed religion through his personal social network accounts.”

The group quoted Ayyad’s mother as saying she had called the police for protection from people gathering outside her house, but when officers arrived they arrested her son and confiscated his computer instead.

“At the police station, an officer incited a number of prisoners to attack Ayyad. Eventually, someone assaulted him, wounding him in the neck with a sharp blade. It was proven during the investigation [that the attack was incited] by the public prosecution,” the organization added.

The group claimed a number of angry citizens forced Ayyad’s mother to leave her home Friday morning after threatening to kill her and burn down her house.

“The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression believes that expressing one’s opinions, even if they are shocking and unfamiliar to the majority of the society, should never lead to [one’s] imprisonment or to their family’s displacement, as is the case with Ayyad’s family,” the statement said.

“The association emphasizes the danger of ignoring the incitement to violence practiced by a number of religious TV channels against Copts, after the uproar over the American film that criticizes Islam,” it added.

The association concluded with a call to repeal penal provisions that criminalize criticism of religion.

Ayyad’s case comes amid a wave of popular fury in several Islamic countries sparked by a movie produced in the US which mocks the Prophet Mohamed. 

Related Articles

Back to top button