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Egyptian liberals outraged by lawyer's blasphemy indictment

The sentencing of lawyer and Islamic thinker Ahmed Abdo Maher to five years in prison over remarks defaming Islam has sparked controversy in Egypt, accentuating the divide between liberals and ultra-conservatives.
People walk in and out of the Cairo High Court in Egypt on Aug. 25, 2013.

A prominent Egyptian lawyer and Islamic thinker has been sentenced to five years in prison with hard labor on charges of "contempt of religion" and "stirring up sectarian strife."  

The Nov. 17 court decision to imprison Ahmed Abdo Maher over "anti-Islamic" comments posted on his social media accounts and views expressed during an Aug. 26 TV interview sparked controversy on social media, prompting calls by Egypt's liberals for the abolishment of the country's blasphemy laws. In the interview broadcast on El Mayadeen TV, Maher had described the Islamic nation as "static" and without innovation and said that enlightenment requires courage. 

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