Egyptian Coptic Alber Saber imprisoned after sharing satirical film on Islam

Egyptian Coptic Alber Saber posted a link to the "blasphemous" film The Innocence of Muslims, and a mob formed outside his house threatening his death. He was sentenced to three years in prison for blasphemy and brutalized in prison.

Alber Saber
Sep 13, 2012
Also Known As:
Albert Saber Ayad
Imprisoned, Death Threats
Accused of:
Student, blogger
Family Members:

Kariman Masiha (mother)

Alber Saber is an Egyptian atheist from a Coptic Christian family. Though he was, of course, raised Christian, he gradually came to the conclusion after years of reading that no religion was correct and that there was no God. Thus, later, as a student of comparative religions, he developed a reputation among his peers for being critical and skeptical of faith. Even before his legal troubles, this subjected him to harassment, often violent, from Islamists. 

This harassment escalated in September 2012 when he was accused of sharing a controversial film online which denigrated Islam. On this assumption, a mob surrounded Saber’s house and threatened to burn it down. He and his mother called the police, but as a result, Alber himself was investigated, as the posting of such a video would be blasphemous. They found no evidence for that accusation, but in investigating Alber, they found grounds to charge him with “defamation of Islam and Christianity”; Alber, they had found, had been posting other irreligious content online.

"I did not want to leave. If it were up to me I would stay and defend myself even if I were to be executed, but many people were suffering because of me and had already suffered enough." - Alber Saber on his self-imposed exile from Egypt

After being sentenced on his charges in December 2012, Alber says he was subject to mistreatment, both verbal and physical, while in prison. One officer “cursed” Alber and his mother before telling prisoners he was guilty of insulting Christianity and Islam, which prompted one prisoner to cut Alber’s throat with a razor blade. One month later, Alber was released from prison as he waited for the appeal to his sentence to be heard, and he took this opportunity to flee Egypt for the safety of himself and his loved ones.

Despite the ordeal Alber underwent, he does not regret expressing the vocally secular and irreligious opinions that got him arrested. He remains a strong advocate for freedom of thought, freedom of conscience, and a secular Egyptian government.


Egypt has a general blasphemy law that prohibits disparaging “the heavenly religions.” While the law ostensibly targets no religion in particular, in practice it is usually used against religious minorities and those who blaspheme Islam. Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority has particularly borne a disproportionate weight of blasphemy prosecutions. In addition to the relatively aggressive efforts of Egyptian authorities to prosecute such cases, blasphemers and atheists must also contend with social pressure, coercion, and the risk of vigilante violence.

Cases in Egypt
Activist Anas Hassan given three years in prison, fined ~$19,000 for atheist Facebook page
Activist Ahmed Harkan and pregnant wife assaulted, brutalized by police; miscarriage results
Al-Azhar student Kareem Amer expelled, imprisoned three years; tortured for blasphemy, atheism
Egyptian Coptic Alber Saber imprisoned after sharing satirical film on Islam
Ayman Yusef Mansur sentenced to three years in prison with hard labor for Facebook blasphemy
Copts Ayman Rida Hanna and Mounir Massad Hanna imprisoned for blasphemous social media video
Bishoy Kameel fired, imprisoned, and beaten for fabricated blasphemous Facebook posts
Schoolteacher Dimiana Abdel-Nour accused of blasphemy by students, arrested
Prominent secularist professor and writer Farag Foda assassinated
Poet and journalist Fatima Naoot given three years for criticizing Eid "massacre"
Coptic teacher Gad Younan and students mock ISIS, imprisoned for blasphemy, fined, exiled
Coptic 17-year-old Gamal Abdou Massoud given three years in prison for blasphemy
Pro-Islamic-reform TV show canceled, host arrested for blasphemy
Student Karim al-Banna imprisoned for announcing atheism online
Activist Maikel Nabil Sanad subjected to official blasphemy investigation, self-exiles from Egypt
Christian school secretary Makram Diab gets 6-year sentence for asking "blasphemous" question
Sheikh Mizo teaches tolerance, criticizes scripture, receives 5-year sentence
Comedian Mohamed Ashraf arrested on blasphemy charges for mocking Qur'an radio show
Activist Mustafa Abdel-Nabi sentenced to three years for atheistic Facebook posts
Coptic children Nabil Nagy Rizk and Mina Nady Farag arrested for blasphemy
Author Naguib Mahfouz suffers assassination attempt for blasphemous writings
Leading liberal theologian and writer Nasr Abu Zayd forced into exile
Coptic lawyer Roman Murad Saad given year in prison, hard labor for "ridiculing" Quran
Popular Islam-critical YouTuber Sherif Gaber arrested trying to escape Egypt
Student Youssef Hani arrested for supporting France amid blasphemy controversy