Calls to release another journalist show Al Jazeera isn't Egypt's only problem

Published October 11th, 2015 - 11:06 GMT
Boulos has been held for over 300 days without charge, though many suspect Egyptian authorities detained him for his 2007 conversion to Christianity. (Twitter)
Boulos has been held for over 300 days without charge, though many suspect Egyptian authorities detained him for his 2007 conversion to Christianity. (Twitter)

Amal Clooney’s high profile win in an Egyptian court last month saw the pardon of Al Jazeera’s Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, but now social media is calling out the plight of another jailed journalist in the country.

Bishoy Boulos was originally imprisoned in December 2013 for documenting clashes in the city of Minya following former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi’s ousting. He was sentenced to five years in prison, reduced to one year with an appeal. But another component of the country’s legal system made things more complicated.

Formerly known as Mohammed Hegazy, Boulos sparked controversy in 2007 when he became the first Egyptian to demand his conversion from Islam to Christianity be recognised by the state.

It’s not technically illegal to convert to Christianity in Egypt, but foggy state laws relating to Muslims leaving Islam mean apostasy charges are easy to fall into. Boulos was re-detained almost immediately following his 2014 release, this time for his conversion. 

The broadcaster’s accusers say the way he converted was “blasphemous and insulting” to Islam. Yet, after over 300 days in prison, no official charges have been filed, according to rights groups. Meanwhile, Boulos’ lawyer says he’s faced abuse and torture at the hands of his guards because of his Christian faith, and been denied access to a bible.

Numerous Christian media sources have issued statements raising awareness of Boulos’ case and calling for his immediate release. These calls have been echoed on Twitter by his supporters worldwide, with many claiming he is only in prison because of his Christian faith.

Have a look at a few below. Via Twitter.

 


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