CAIRO - The Arab world's most famous comic actor, Adel Imam, will appeal a decision by an Egyptian court to sentence him to three months in jail for insulting Islam in his films and plays, his lawyer told Reuters on Wednesday.
A court found Imam guilty of defaming Islam on Feb. 2 and fined him 1,000 Egyptian pounds ($170) in absentia. Imam has frequently poked fun at the authorities and politicians during a 40-year career and his more serious films have dealt with the rise of Islamist militancy.
The timing of his case - at a time when Islamists are in the political ascendancy - and his high own profile has raised fears that ultraconservative Muslims, who swept parliamentary elections, are trying to force their views on society.
"Mr. Adel Imam will appeal to annul the verdict, which was given on the wrong legal basis," Sawat Hussein, his lawyer, told Reuters.
"My client's films were certified, not censored, by surveillance authorities before their release to the public."