Egyptian Christian students stand trial for insulting Islam

An Egyptian lawyer says three Coptic Christian students face charges of insulting Islam and will stand trial this week after appearing in a video mocking Muslim prayers.

Maher Naguib, a lawyer from the southern city of Minya, told The Associated Press Monday that the students, all in high school, will stand trial on Thursday. The students' teacher, also a Christian, was tried separately over the same charges. He fled the town and was sentenced to three-years imprisonment in absentia last year. Naguib said he will appeal.

The students appeared in a video pretending to pray and reciting Quranic verses. Christians make up 10 percent of Egypt's population.

Egypt has witnessed a surge in blasphemy charges in recent months at a time when President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi vowed to modernize religious discourse.