Student Sentenced To Year In Egyptian Jail For Atheism

| by Michael Allen

Sherif Gaber, 22, was recently sentenced to one year in jail by an Egyptian court for supporting atheism and creating an atheist Facebook page.

Gaber was a student at Suez Canal University in 2013 when his fellow students and a teacher snitched on him via a petition to the university’s then-president Mohamed Mohamedein.

Mohamedein turned Gaber into local authorities for contempt of religion, which he was convicted for on Monday.

The judge in the case said Gaber could avoid jail for now if he paid a bail equivalent to about $130 dollars.

While he is out of jail for now, Gaber faces a retrial that could put him in prison for over two years.

Gaber told Daily News Egypt that he was arrested on Oct. 27, 2013:

[I couldn’t believe] the strength of the security of the state – three armoured cars and an army vehicle, surrounded my house. I said there must be another Osama bin Laden living in the same tower … I didn’t know I was that dangerous.

Gaber also claimed that he was abused and electrocuted while he was held in jail until December 2013.

Gaber hopes he can claim emergency asylum before he is sentenced at his retrial.

Even though the incident is not even two years old, Mohamedein told the Daily News Egypt that he "cannot remember the incident, a lot of things happened when I was there."

Fatma Serag, an attorney with the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), which is helping Gaber, stated, "I strongly condemn the ruling issued against Sherif Gaber, and I hope his innocence is granted by appeal."

A petition was started online to call for the release of Gaber, but was closed after 582 signatories. The petition claimed that Gaber made the following statement:

Hi, my name is sherif gaber (Yamirasu) from Egypt. I was taught to be a Muslim; for that my dad sent me to some Sheiks, so I memorised the Quran and more than 1000 (Hadith) until I became very religious but then I started to see the contradictions between the Quran and scientific facts, and day by day for 2 years after searching and reading I knew the truth.

Then I became an atheist and hid it for a few months. Then I admit it despite knowing that I might get killed any moment .. My family hasn’t talked to me for more than 4 months and I lost the majority of the people I thought were my friends and for about a year now half the people on my street don’t talk to me .. I’ve got threats every single day on my phone and my Facebook account…

Here in Egypt, a lot of young atheists were sent to jail for 10 sometimes 20 years and if they have evidence that you insulted Islam you will be executed! That’s if the Islamic organisations don’t murder you & your family before that! .. Even though I’m not afraid to say I’m an atheist to everyone who asks about my religion… To die for the truth is much much better to live in a lie!

Sources: Daily News Egypt,
Image Credit: Jason