Cairo: An Egyptian court has convicted a local pastry-maker of illegally using donkey meat in a popular dish and serving it to unsuspecting customers, legal sources said.
The Helwan Misdemeanour Court in Cairo sentenced the convict, an owner of a pastry store, to three years in prison and ordered him pay a fine of 30,000 Egyptian pounds (Dh6,899), they added.
Police had earlier raided the place where they took samples from a paste of hawawshi, which are pitas traditionally stuffed with minced meat and spiced with onion and pepper, Egyptian newspaper Al Watan reported.
Lab tests later showed that the samples were unfit for human consumption and contained donkey meat banned in Egypt.
In recent years, Egyptian media has reported several incidents involving the sale of donkey meat with the offenders resorting to this practice due to hikes in prices of other meat products.
Dar Al Iftaa, Egypt’s main Islamic body responsible for issuing fatwas, has ruled that slaughtering donkeys for human consumption is haram or impermissible in Islam.
While there is no clear penalty in Egyptian law for trading in donkey and other equine meat, the offence is categorised as an act of commercial fraud and punishable by up to three years in prison and a minimum fine of LE10,000.