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The New Arab

Atheist blogger arrested in Egypt for anti-Islam criticism

Gaber has around 150,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel [YouTube]

Date of publication: 5 May, 2018

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Egyptian police have arrested an atheist blogger who was previously detained for promoting his views, a rights lawyer said on Saturday.

An atheist blogger who was previously detained for promoting his anti-religion views, was arrested by Egyptian police, a rights lawyer said on Saturday.

Sherif Gaber was in police custody on Saturday and set to be questioned by the prosecution on Sunday, Gamal Eid, head of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, told AFP.

"He has been arrested and should be questioned tomorrow," Eid said.

It was not immediately clear when Gaber was arrested.

In late March, Gaber tweeted that "some Muslim lawyers" filed a complaint against him with the attorney general for his critical views on Islam.

"I'll probably get arrested in the next few days, but I don't want you to get mad," he wrote.

In 2013, Gaber was detained for allegedly promoting atheism - a punishable act in Egypt under a law that bans "insults to religions”.

The young Egyptian regularly uploads videos on his YouTube channel, where he criticises religion, most notable Islam, to some 150,000 subscribers.

Since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in the same year, Egypt began a wide-ranging crackdown on activists and journalists.

Most recently, one of the leading activists of the 2011 Egyptian uprisings was fined 10,000 LE ($565) during his re-trial over insulting the judiciary.

The ruling on Ahmed Douma in February is a response to his appeal against a December 2014 ruling that sentenced him to three years in jail plus the fine.

During the 2014 trial, Douma accused the presiding judge of violating Egypt's laws by publicly expressing political views. 

Specifically, Douma said the judge published "extreme" political views on his Facebook account, according to Egypt Today.

In 2015, Douma was sentenced to life in prison and slapped with a 17 million LE ($960,000) fine in a separate trial. The "Cabinet Clashes" related to skirmishes between protesters and security forces outside Egypt’s cabinet building in 2011.

Douma, along with 268 defendants, were charged for the 2011 incident.

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