Egyptian court dismisses Islam insult case against Sawiris

An Egyptian court on Tuesday dismissed a case filed against a prominent Coptic Christian tycoon accused of insulting Islam, a judicial source said, but a separate trial on the same charge continues.

The court said the plaintiff had no legal standing to bring the case against telecommunications magnate Naguib Sawiris for posting a cartoon of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in conservative Islamic dress.

Sawiris, the head of Orascom Telecom who also founded the liberal Free Egyptians party, had reposted the cartoon on Twitter, jokingly suggesting the cartoon characters would be forced to wear a long beard and a face veil if Islamists took power.

Sawiris later apologized for the posting.

The plaintiff was fined 50 Egyptians pounds (about eight dollars) for filing the case.

The official MENA news agency reported that another trial for Sawiris on the same charge of insulting religion was expected to reach a verdict on March 3.

The plaintiff in that case is MP Mamduh Ismail, a hardline Islamist lawyer with the ultra-conservative Al-Nur party.

Nur came second to the Islamist but more moderate Freedom and Justice Party in a three-round election that began in November, leaving parliament with an Islamist majority for the first time in Egypt’s history.

The liberal coalition that included Sawiris’s Free Egyptians party won around 15 percent of the vote.