Actor sentenced to three months in case brought by lawyer with ties to Islamist groups gaining power in post-Mubarak Egypt
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 2 February 2012 15.43 GMT
One of the Arab world's most famous comic actors Adel Imam has received a three-month jail sentence for insulting Islam in films and plays, a court document has shown.
Imam, who has frequently poked fun at authorities and politicians during a 40-year career, has one month to appeal and will remain free until that process is concluded.
The case was brought by Asran Mansour, a lawyer with ties to Islamist groups, judicial sources said. The sentence on Thursday came weeks after Islamists won most seats in a parliamentary election.
Mansour accused the actor of offending Islam and its symbols, including beards and the jilbab, a loose-fitting garment worn by some Muslims.
Among the material targeted by the lawyer were the film Morgan Ahmed Morgan and the play al-Zaeem (The Leader), the report said.
Court cases against directors, actors, artists and intellectuals for failing to respect religious authority are common in Egypt. But the case against Imam is likely to draw attention owing to his fame and the timing of the verdict.
"I think the lawyer who filed the case against Imam is taking advantage of the current circumstances with Islamists gaining power in Egypt," said Nabil Abdel Fattah, an analyst and researcher at al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo.
He said the sentence had likely been handed down because Imam had failed to appear in court, and expected it to be overturned on appeal.
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