CAIRO - An Egyptian Coptic Christian arrested on suspicion of posting online an anti-Islam film that ignited Muslim protests around the world should be freed immediately, Amnesty International said on Tuesday.
Computer science graduate Alber Saber was detained by police in Cairo last month after his neighbors accused him of uploading sections of the film Innocence of Muslims and of making another movie that mocks all religions.
The case has raised concerns over freedom of expression under Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, who came to power in free elections earlier this year after the 2011 popular uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
Saber is in jail and due to attend his second trial session for blasphemy on Wednesday. If found guilty, the 27-year-old could be jailed for up to six years, according to a report by rights group Amnesty, which also said Saber had told his lawyers he had been beaten in custody.
"Alber Saber Ayad is a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and should be released immediately," Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director of Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa Programme, said in a statement.