by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - An Algerian court has upheld the five-year prison sentence given to a Christian man convicted of insulting Islam because he reposted a cartoon of Muhammad on his Facebook page three years ago, Morning Star News reports.
The defendant Hamid (whose surname was withheld for security reasons) had been convicted and sentenced under Algeria’s controversial Article 144 law - legislation which rights groups have condemned as being commonly applied to persecute Christians.
On Monday, the Onan City Court of Justice rejected Hamid’s appeal and also upheld the fine of US$750 he received upon conviction. Article 144 provides a maximum penalty of five years, and it is believed Hamid received the full sentence available because he is Christian.
“I really hoped for a reduction in the sentence – I expected at the worst, six months in prison,” Hamid’s lawyer, Farid Khemisti, told Morning Star News. “That is the maximum that a fair judgment would have given, but I don’t think my client’s being a Christian made it any easier.”
“Hamid assured me that he had never intended to harm Islam or anyone, and that he did not know how he had become trapped in receiving this post,” Khemisti added.