|Alber Saber making Victory signs.|
Once in the dock, Saber gave victory salutes and held up a piece of paper condemning “confessional courts.” He also shouted “down with confessional courts” when the judge appeared and began trial proceedings.Kind of makes my situation of being a closet Atheist here in Canada look pretty wimpy, eh? It seems that around the world young people are standing up in defiance for freedom of conscious and freedom fo speech.
Here's a little background. The police removed Saber from the potentially life-threatening situation of a lynch mob surrounding his house threatening to behead him for insulting their religion of peace and put him into protective custody. Well, no not really. The police actually wanted to get him out of that situation so they could beat the crap out of him.
Human rights lawyers say Saber was arrested without a prosecutor's warrant and that he was beaten during interrogation. Security officials have refused to talk publicly about the case, but a judicial source said the police had acted on the instructions of prosecutors.Then the prison guard decided Saber hadn't suffered enough for insulting Islam. So he dropped a little hint to the rest of the prisoners in Saber's cell before locking him in.
Saber was attacked in Al-Marg police station following his initial arrest. Inmates cut his throat with a razor blade after a police officer told them Saber had insulted religion.
A report by Ezzat claims, “[at] Al-Marg police station [he] was taken to a room that had about five other inmates. Then a young officer entered the room and told the five inmates that Alber is the one who distributed the video defaming the prophet and that he burnt the Quran and insulted all religions and ordered them to attack him,” it read.
“They beat him, four of them tied him up and totally paralyzed him while the fifth took out a razor and hit him with it in the neck resulting in a cut wound [sic]. Then he was taken to another room that had more than 20 people who beat him up and then forced him to stand by the toilet door until morning preventing him from sitting down,” it went on.Naturally human rights organizations are calling this a horrendous violation of human rights. Naturally there is not a peep coming out of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where the seed of the proposed Office of Religious Freedom is now germinating and about to break ground at any moment. Given its pedigree, I truly doubt the office will look out for victims like Saber.
So what are they charging Saber with? He's had a lynch mob show up at his house, been dragged out and arrested without a warrent, had the crap physically beaten out of him by the interrogators and had his throat slit by a razor blade. So what has he done to deserve this?
Apparently, he's caused emotional injury. Here's the prosecuting lawyer.
Mahmoud Refat, a lawyer, appeared in court claiming civil damages for “emotional injury” caused by Saber.Yes, it seems like Saber has caused much emotional pain. He's hurt people's spiritual feelings.
He also deeply insulted someone who wasn't apparently able to make it to the trial himself - God. God was not able to take the witness stand, but his representatives here on Earth - who also seem to practically run Egypt, assure us He is deeply offended.
“I am here as a Muslim lawyer defending Islam and Sharia. But I am also defending Christianity, because Alber Saber insulted God,” Refat said.Well then, I suppose there is no need for the Office of Religious Freedom after all, now is there? Looks like religion is being championed here.
The prosecution also provides an illuminating response to the allegation that the charges against Saber represent an attack on freedom of opinion.
“Under American law they accept what Alber is saying as freedom of belief. But we don’t have that in Islamic societies,” Refat said, adding that Saber had posted anti-Islamic content online in order that a case against him would be raised and that he would be able to seek asylum in the United States.We don't have that in Islamic societies. Out of luck... Well, he gets points for being candid and basically saying out-loud what many have long known.
The case will resume on November 14th. I hope Saber survives that long.
Edit 2012-10-27: Read about my new letter writing campaign to help Alber Saber and others.