A court in southern Egypt has sentenced a Coptic Christian teacher to six years in prison for posting on his Facebook page drawings that it ruled insulted Islam's Prophet Muhammad and comments deemed an affront to the country's president.

The state news agency said the court decision Tuesday in Sohag province also finds Beshoi el-Behiri guilty of insulting the plaintiff. The court case predates the public anger that was triggered by an amateur movie produced by a Copt living in the United States that ridicules Muhammad as a womanizer, child molester and buffoon. But sensitivities over the film have clearly hiked the tension around the court.

The agency said scores of Islamists protesting outside the courtroom denounced the sentence as meager. El-Behiri had denied the charges, filed late July.