Egypt arrests students for mocking Christianity online

A screen grab of the video where four guys appear to be mocking Christian prayers. (supplied)
Updated 11 February 2019
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Egypt arrests students for mocking Christianity online

  • The university students aged between 19 and 24 were accused of being in “contempt of the Christian religion”

CAIRO: Egyptian authorities have arrested four students for mocking Christian rituals in an online video and ordered them to be kept in custody for four days, a judicial source said Monday.
The university students aged between 19 and 24 were accused of being in “contempt of the Christian religion,” the source said.
If tried and found guilty they could face up to five years in prison.
They were arrested last week and remanded in custody by the state prosecutor overnight Sunday.
At the end of January they posted a video on YouTube in which they were allegedly seen mocking Coptic hymns and prayers.
But they later removed the clip and posted an apology online.
Copts, a Christian minority which accounts for 10 percent of Egypt’s 98 million people, have repeatedly complained of marginalization in the mostly Muslim country.
In recent years they have been targeted by Daesh group extremists.
Trials for “contempt” of Christianity are rare in Egypt where more frequently charges are levelled for contempt of Islam usually against liberal Muslim intellectuals.
In 2016 four Coptic teenagers were found guilty of being in contempt of Islam and three of them were handed five-year sentences each after mocking Muslim prayer in a video.
Later that year they fled the country, traveling to Switzerland where they obtained political asylum.


Erdogan: Turkey’s S-400 missile systems purchase from Russia ‘done deal’

Updated 42 min 13 sec ago
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Erdogan: Turkey’s S-400 missile systems purchase from Russia ‘done deal’

ANKARA: Turkey will not turn back from its deal to buy S-400 missile systems from Russia, President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying on Saturday, a day after an informal deadline Washington set for Ankara to respond to a rival offer passed.
NATO member Turkey has repeatedly said it is committed to buying the Russian missile defense system, despite warnings from the US-led alliance that the S-400s cannot be integrated into the NATO air defense system.
US officials had set an informal deadline of February 15 for Ankara to respond to the rival US offer and have said that if Turkey proceeds with the S-400 purchase, Washington will withdraw its offer to sell a $3.5 billion Raytheon Co. Patriot missile package.
They have also said it would jeopardize Turkey’s purchase of Lockheed Martin Corp. F-35 fighter jets and possibly result in the United States imposing sanctions.
However, speaking to reporters on the flight back from the Russian resort of Sochi, where a three-way summit on Syria between Turkey, Russia and Iran was held, Erdogan said Ankara would press on with the S-400 purchases.
“We made the S-400 deal with Russia, so it out of the question for us to turn back. That’s done,” Erdogan said, according to broadcaster NTV.
He said Turkey was open to purchasing Patriot systems from the United States as long as the deal served Turkey’s interests, but added there were issues on delivery and production that were still being discussed with Washington.
“The US administration views the early delivery issue positively, but they won’t say anything about joint production or a credit. We continue our work based on the promise of the S-400 deliveries in July.”
The formal US offer for Turkey’s purchase of Patriot systems expires at the end of March, US officials have told Reuters, after which a new offer would have to be submitted.
The US asked Turkey to give at least an informal answer on whether it would go ahead with its S-400 purchase by February 15, one US official said.
It was not immediately clear whether Turkey had responded to the US offer.