An Egyptian court in the province of Minya on Thursday awarded up to five-year jail term to three Christian teenagers for insulting Islam in a video, in which they "mocked" Muslim prayers. A fourth one, aged 15, was sent to juvenile home for an indefinite period.
The four teenagers had enacted the beheadings by the Islamic State group in a 30-second video, in which one knelt down and read verses from Quran, while two stood behind him and laughed, Associated Press reports. One of the two laughing in the video placed his hand under fourth teengaer's neck, mocking the beheading.
"They have been sentenced for contempt of Islam and inciting sectarian strife... The judge didn't show any mercy. He handed down the maximum punishment," defence lawyer Maher Naguib told Agence-Frace Presse.
In a separate trial, a teacher who filmed the video on a phone was also served three-year jail term on the same charges. The video was made in January 2015, when these teenagers were aged between 15 and 17.
The defence lawyer called the judgement "unbelievable," while the mother of one of the convicts questioned it.
"My son was sentenced to five years for laughing. Is that possible?... What kind of justice is this?" Iman Girgis, the mother of one convict Moller Atef, told AP.
Though the video was made in January 2015, it became viral in April that year after Egyptian Christians were beheaded by the jihadists of the Islamic State group. Several Muslims in the province of Minya, in a village of which the convicts belonged, attacked their houses in anger.