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Egyptian Author Sentenced To Prison For Book 'Where Is God?'

Egyptian author and human rights activist Karam Saber has been sentenced to five years in prison, after a court found his writings to have insulted religion, reports the Egyptian news website Aswat Masriya.

The complaint against Saber and his book Ayn Allah (Where Is God?) was initially filed in 2011, months after the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak's regime. Saber's was reportedly the first blasphemy case of its kind after Egypt's revolution.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information condemned the charges against Saber when they were made, citing "deep concern of the return of religious and political Hesba cases."

Hesba cases (also written as hisbah) stem from Islamic Sharia law, allowing "all Muslims the right to file lawsuits in cases where an exalted right of God has been violated, even if this does not directly harm them," as ahramonline reports.

Saber plans to appeal the decision and his prison sentence; Wednesday, he told Aswat Masriya that his book, a collection of short stories, should not be judged by religious standards.

"Who are these institutions to evaluate works of literature?" he asked.

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