A Saudi court has imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi for 10 years for "insulting Islam" and setting up a liberal web forum, local media report.
He was also sentenced to 1,000 lashes and ordered to pay a fine of 1 million riyals ($266,000; £133,000).
Amnesty International called the verdict "outrageous" and urged the authorities to quash the verdict.
Mr Badawi, the co-founder of a website called the Liberal Saudi Network, was arrested in 2012.
A Saudi newspaper close to the government reported that he had lost his appeal against an earlier, more lenient sentence of seven years and three months in jail and 600 lashes.
Last year he was cleared of apostasy, which could have carried a death sentence.
Following the January 25 Revolution in Egypt, several changes occurred in Egyptian society, most of which involved breaking away from the habits and customs that various generations were raised with. One example is the trend of young people abandoning the religion they once embraced and declaring themselves atheists.
The actual number of atheists in Egypt is unknown, and no one has tried to determine their number. Atheists say that there are 3 million of them in Egypt, but there is no proof of the accuracy of this figure. Amina Nasir, a professor of philosophy at Al-Azhar University, said that through her dealings with students at the university and youth in general she had noticed an increase in the number of young people who announce their atheism.
A look at the lives of atheists in Egypt
Majd, an Egyptian who hails from a Christian family and did not want to give his full name for security reasons, says he once pondered who created the universe. Is there such a being? He started thinking about atheism after the death of his friend Mina Dania, who was killed during the events of the January 25 Revolution. Majd went to a priest and asked him, “Why did Mina die?”
How does an atheist live?
Majd no longer goes to church. He is a young man who grew up among priests. He had been part of the church activities since he was a schoolboy, but he now no longer believes what the Bible says. “I can no longer understand how God, whom everyone calls just, would accept that my innocent friends died during the revolution, that I lost people I loved and that I suffer for their death, without me having committed a sin to be punished for,” he told Al-Monitor.
Syrian rebels crucified: Islamic extremists execute two men in the most public way for 'fighting against Muslims'
The jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant said it had executed a total of seven prisoners who it claimed had carried out a grenade attack on one of its fighters earlier this month in the Euphrates Valley city of Raqqa.
The group, which even Al Qaeda have been keen to distance themselves from, said on Twitter: 'Ten days ago, attackers on a motorbike threw a grenade at an ISIL fighter at the Naim roundabout. A Muslim civilian had his leg blown off and a child was killed.
'Our fighters immediately set up a roadblock and succeeded in capturing them. They were then able to detain other members of the cell.'
Sunnis and Shias are on the brink of civil war, and Islamism is emboldened. Two years after US withdrawal, Iraq is unraveling
Candidate Rabba Mohammed pastes a campaign poster on a wall in Ramadi, Iraq. Photograph: Stringer/Iraq/Reuters
Iraq holds national elections on Wednesday, its first since the US left in December 2011. Relations between its Sunni and Shia communities have deteriorated and the country is on the brink of civil war as well as territorial disintegration.
The elections are likely to sustain and exacerbate these problems. The country has struggled to contain domestic instability and regional volatility since the US withdrawal, to the extent that many believe it is no longer a question of if, but when, the 2006 sectarian civil war is repeated. That conflict, also between Sunni and Shia communities, took the country to the brink, claimed thousands of lives and divided Baghdad along sectarian boundaries.
MINYA, Egypt — An Egyptian court here on Monday sentenced to death the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and more than 680 other people after a swift mass trial on charges of inciting or committing acts of violence that led to the destruction of a police station and the killing of an officer.– New York Times, April 28, 2014
Egypt’s military-backed government has followed a pattern established by a long line of Egyptian political leaders who have exhibited public religiosity and presented themselves as men of God. Notably, the recently-ratified constitution—drafted by a group of fifty people hand-selected by the nation’s military-installed president—did not do away with an article dictating Islam as the official religion of the state and Islamic Shari’ah as the primary source of legislation.
Three factors make the current Egyptian regime’s use of religion significant, however. First, the regime took power in a cataclysmic event apparently aimed at saving the country from a group, the Muslim Brotherhood, allegedly bent on exploiting religion for political gain; second, the post-coup government has suggested that secularism is a safer political path, as evidenced by its decision to ban religious parties; and third (and arguably most importantly) the regime has employed religion to justify a host of repressive policies.
The payment of "blood money" spared 358 Iranians from execution last year, the country's prosecutor general said today.
The practice, made possible under the Islamic sharia law of diya (restitution), allows a convict to be pardoned by a victim's family if they receive financial recompense.
Nine months later, though, Egypt’s freethinkers and religious minorities are still waiting for the new leadership to deliver on that promise. Having suppressed Mr. Morsi’s Islamist supporters, the new military-backed government has fallen back into patterns of sectarianism that have prevailed here for decades.
Prosecutors continue to jail Coptic Christians, Shiite Muslims and atheists on charges of contempt of religion. A panel of Muslim scholars has cited authority granted under the new military-backed Constitution to block screenings of the Hollywood blockbuster “Noah” because it violates an Islamic prohibition against depictions of the prophets.
The military leader behind the takeover, Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, often appeals to the Muslim majority in a language of shared piety that recalls Anwar el-Sadat, nicknamed the believer president, who invoked religious authority to bolster his legitimacy and inscribed into the Constitution the principles of Islamic law.