An Egyptian appeals court has reduced the sentence against a poet accused of contempt of Islam to a six-month suspended prison term.

Fatma Naoot had appealed an earlier three-year sentence over a Facebook post criticizing the slaughter of animals for the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha. She denies the charge.

Thursday's decision comes after a series of rulings against artistic work or speech deemed offensive to religion fueled accusations that authorities are clamping down on freedom of expression.

Earlier this year, Egyptian author Ahmed Naji was sentenced to two years for publishing a sexually explicit excerpt of his novel that prosecutors said violated "public modesty."

Last week, a former TV host convicted of "defaming religious symbols" was pardoned by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.