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Egypt: Actor Adel Emam sentenced to three months jail

Adel Emam

The world famous Egyptian movie and stage actor Adel Emam* has been sentenced in absentia to three months jail for allegedly offending Islam and its symbols. He has one month to appeal against the sentence. The case was brought by a lawyer linked to an Islamist group. It refers to Emam’s performance a 2007 film and a 1998 stage play about an Arab dictator.

With Islamists gaining power, the public climate is dramatically changing in Egypt. Weeks after the parliamentary elections, in which Islamist parties won a majority, numerous actors, directors, artists and intellectuals are accused of defaming Islam. Adel Emam is the most prominent victim.

The 71-year old actor, who played in more than hundred movies and ten plays, is worldwide best known as a comedian, often poking fun at authorities and politicians. He starred in many serious movies also, among them the high profile literary film The Yacoubian Building (2006). Since decades, his custom character archetype enjoys great popularity - a man, down on his luck, who raises against powerful outside pressure.

Adel Emam did not appear in court. His current whereabouts are unknown.

[2th February, 2012]

* also known as Abdel Imam