Christian man has detention extended in Egypt

Christian man has detention extended in Egypt

A Christian man in Egypt has had his detention extended for another 45 days due to a Facebook post that insulted Islam.

Gerges Samih Zaki was arrested on 25th November 2020, accused of "joining a terrorist group, publishing fake news and disturbing public order, and using the internet with the intention to commit crimes."

Rumours had circulated that Mr Zaki had posted a comment on his Facebook page that was deemed insulting to Islam. He claimed that his page had been hacked. It is a criminal offence to insult the Abrahamic religions in Egypt.

Following this, there were clashes between Christians and Muslims in the village of Al-Barsha and the police detained and interrogated 15 Christians and 20 Muslims for 15 days. Mr Zaki was also arrested from his workplace.

All were released on 21st January 2021 except for Mr Zaki, who has remained in custody ever since.

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) has called on the Egyptian authorities to drop the charges against Mr Zaki and to release him immediately, saying in a statement: "Article 98(f) of the penal code related to insulting religion leaves the door widely open to misuse this article to abuse freedom of expression and belief."