Egypt Copts get death in absentia over anti-Islam film
CAIRO - Agence France-Presse
upporters of Muslim Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed Abdullah aka Abu-Islam, hold posters critisizing Morris Sadek an Egyptian living in the US, alleged to have been part in the issuing of the movie against the prophet, during Abu Islam's trial, in Cairo, Egypt, 14 October 2012. EPA PhotoA Cairo court on Wednesday sentenced seven Egyptian Christians and a controversial US pastor to death in absentia for involvement in a movie that ridiculed the Prophet Mohammed, state media said.
The Christian Egyptians, including the film's maker, are all located in the United States and were tried in their absence. The American pastor, Terry Jones, heads a small congregation in Florida.
During the trial, the judges were shown clips of the low-budget film, the Innocence of Muslims, and footage of Muslim protesters in Libya outraged by the film, the official MENA news agency reported.
Egyptian courts usually hand out the maximum punishment -- execution in this case for a blasphemy verdict -- and send the decision to the state's top Islamic scholar to get his approval, which is always granted.
If the defendants do return to Egypt, they could get a new trial.
The movie, in which Mohammed is depicted as a buffoon and paedophile, sparked fury across the Muslim world. In Libya, Islamists killed the US ambassador Chris Stevens in an attack on the consulate in Benghazi.