Egypt drops blasphemy case against two Christian boys

CAIRO Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:28am EDT

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Two Egyptian Christian boys detained over charges of blasphemy and insulting the Koran were released and their case was dropped on Wednesday, their defense lawyer said.

The brothers, Mina Nadi, 9, and Nabil Nadi, 10, were accused by locals in the village of Marco south of Cairo of tearing up a copy of the Koran and urinating on it.

They were placed in juvenile detention on October 3.

"The case has been closed ... and today we knew that the charges were dropped and the children were released after a deal was reached between Muslims, Christians and security officials in the area," said Gamal Eid, a human rights activist and part of the team of lawyers defending the boys.

He did not explain what kind of deal had been reached.

Accusations of blasphemy and inter-faith love affairs have often incited sectarian tension and led to violence in Egypt.

Around 10 percent of Egypt's 83 million people are Christian, many of whom have been concerned about the political rise of Islamists after a popular uprising ousted Hosni Mubarak last year. President Mohamed Mursi, who was propelled to power by the Muslim Brotherhood earlier this year, has promised to protect Christians' rights.

(Reporting By Yasmine Saleh; Writing by Tamim Elyan, editing by Diana Abdallah)

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