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Egypt’s Naguib Sawiris trial suspended

January 18, 2012 • Mobile and Telecoms, Top Stories

The trial for Egypt’s telecom tycoon and liberal political leader Naguib Sawiris has been postponed until 11 February  because the billionaire failed to appear in court on Saturday.

Egypt’s telecom tycoon and liberal political leader Naguib Sawiris (image: businessweek)

Sawiris faces contempt of religion charges after he tweeted a cartoon of Mickey Mouse wearing a turban and beard and Minnie Mouse in niqab last summer, joking that even cartoons will have to dress conservatively if Islamists take power in Egypt.

As a result, 300,000 customers left Mobinil – the operator of which Sawiris is chairman – accusing Sawiris, a Coptic Christian, of insulting Islam.

Sawiris issued an apology following the boycott, however, a group of some 20 lawyers pushed forward to take legal action against Sawiris, led by Islamist lawyer Mamduh Ismail.

On Saturday, Ismail claimed that Sawiris used his fortunes to be able to insult Islam. Another lawyer called Sawiris a “criminal,” claiming that the cartoon was an “unprecedented” insult to religion in Egypt.

Sawiris is also a co-founder of the Free Egyptians (Al-Masryeen Al-Ahrar), a liberal party advocating separation of state and religion that was founded after the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak.

Sarah Sheffer

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