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Egypt’s telecom tycoon Sawiris to face trial

January 10, 2012 • Mobile and Telecoms, Top Stories

Egypt’s telecom tycoon and liberal political leader Naguib Sawiris is to face trial on contempt of religion charges, Islamist lawyer Mahmoud Ismail – who brought the charges, said on Monday.

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

Sawiris sparked local outcries last summer when he tweeted on his personal Twitter account a cartoon depicting Mickey Mouse wearing a turban and Minnie Mouse in full niqab.

The result saw massive numbers of Mobinil – the operator Sawiris is chairman of – leave the company, accusing Sawiris of insulting Islam.

A group of some 20 lawyers have joined the case against Sawiris, arguing the cartoon insulted Islam, the majority religion in Egypt. A Cairo prosecutor referred the case to trial on Monday.

He is also a co-founder of the Free Egyptians (Al-Masryeen Al-Ahrar), a liberal party advocating separation of state and religion.

Mobinil reportedly lost some 300 000 customers during what was known locally as the “Mickey row.”

Joseph Mayton

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