EIPR also warns of the danger of using Article 27 of the Law to Combat Electronic Crimes issued in 2018 to target the same spectrum of non-traditional ideas and trends, under the pretext of “misuse of social media.” Last June as well.
Files: Freedom of Religion and Belief
The court did not allow the lawyers to obtain the case file and only allowed them to see it quickly, and the case documents did not include any specific publications published by the defendants that would qualify as promoting Shiite doctrine, while the accusation articles included article 98 (f) of the Penal Code known as “contempt of religions” that punishes "promoting extremist ideas that ridicule divinely-revealed religions."
This ruling comes in a broader context of prosecutions and trials for online expression in general, and for religious expression in particular, and includes a wide range of persecuting of unconventional Islamic ideas such as criticism of some of the revered traditional figures of Sunni Islam, or the expression of ideas of non-Sunni Islamic sects such as Shiites, Ahmadiyya and the Quranites, in addition to expressing atheistic ideas or declaring unbelief and criticizing religions.
The lawyer with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights filed suit before the Administrative Court against the interior minister and the director of the Travel and Immigration Department, both in their official capacity. The suit is seeking an expedited stay on the passive decision of the Interior Ministry’s Travel and Immigration Department to refuse to permit Ahmed Harqan to travel abroad
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights said that three years after its adoption, the church construction law has failed to end violations of Christians’ right to worship and address related sectarian tensions. It criticized the security apparatus for shutting down church buildings and thereby prohibiting many Copts in Egyptian villages from engaging in collective worship.
EIPR condemns closure of the Naga al-Ghafir church in Sohag by security and documents closure of 22 churches since enactment of the church construction law; demands reopening of closed churches and a decree regularizing the status of all churches that filed papers with the regularization committee
What happened in Dimshaw Hashim is not a unique case, but a recurrent pattern in a number of governorates that has been going on recently, manifested in closing a number of existing churches and them being unable to settle their legal status.
The EIPR found that from September 28, 2016, when the church construction law was issued, to April 2018, state institutions have shuttered 14 existing churches that were hosting religious services prior to the closure orders. Four of these churches were closed this year, with Copts denied access to them and prayer services in them prohibited.
A year after the displacement, the security situation remains unstable and Christians are not afforded a minimum level of protection. The displaced families are therefore unable to return to Arish, and in some cases people who decided to return were targeted and killed by masked men.
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights is deeply concerned about the judgment issued yesterday by the Atfih Misdemeanor Court in the Giza governorate in case no.