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Egyptian student arrested on charges of 'insulting religion'

Published: Updated:

A misdemeanor court in Ismailia has ordered the arrest of a Suez Canal University student for 15 days, pending investigations on the accusation that he insulted religion, the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) said.

Gaber's arrest was ordered after his university's administration filed a report against him on Sunday claiming he had formed a Facebook group for atheists, reported Ahram online.

The student’s detention quickly caused an uproar on social media with activists creating a “Freedom for Sherif Garber” and a similar hash-tag on Twitter.

Charges of insulting religion were used under both former Egyptian presidents Hosni Mubarak and Mohammad Mursi.

Mubarak employed the charge to target political activists. Under Mursi, an Egyptian court sentenced activist Alber Saber to three years in jail for posting the highly controversial anti-Islamic film “Innocence of Muslims” on his Facebook page. He was later released after making bail.

Article 98 of Egypt's penal code states a person convicted of offending religion in any form can be sentenced to prison for up to six years.