Monday, May 20, 2013
Egyptian Christian Rights Groups Request EU Investigate Egypt
By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
According to a story by Mary Abdelmassih for the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA), the Coptic Dutch Association was acting on behalf of the European Union of Coptic Organizations for Human Rights (EUCOHR).
AINA said the move was prompted by an Egyptian court in the Upper Egyptian town of Beba, ordering the detention of the parents and cousin of a Coptic man, Ebram Andrawes.
AINA said he allegedly disappeared with a 22-year-old Muslim girl, Rana El Shazly, at the end of February after she converted to Christianity, got married and fled to Turkey.
The El Shazly family, from El-Wasta town, 90 kilometers south of Cairo, first accused the Church in Wasta of subjecting Rana to "Black Magic," and converting her to Christianity.
AINA said they then organized three demonstrations with hundreds of Muslims against the local St. George's church and its priest, hurling stones at Coptic homes and ordering Coptic businesses to close until the Muslim girl returned.
A hearing in the Egyptian Shura Council aske d Interpol to bring Rana back, after accusing her of theft. When that didn't work, the El Shazly family brought charges against Ebram's family.
AINA said Rana recently sent a third letter to her family in which she denies that she eloped with a young Copt. She said that she is still a Muslim and married to a Muslim man.
According to the Coptic Dutch Association's memo, Ebram's parents, Zaki Andrawes and his severely ill wife Souad Akhnoukh, as well as his nephew, Peter, were imprisoned for 15 more days following the initial four days.
AINA said the memo pointed out this was because of false charges that they are affiliated with Joyce Meyer Ministries and distributing its magazine. The Coptic Dutch Association stressed that the charges against them were fabricated in order to put pressure on them to return Rana.
AINA said the Coptic Dutch Association memo said the organization has evidence that the mother of the young man currently jailed in Minya is seriously ill, and was not allowed to be transferred to a hospital as a punishment to her and her family. The evidence was submitted to the European Parliament and the European Union.
"We requested the European Parliament to issue a statement of condemnation against what happened to the Copts in El-Wasta and the unjust imprisonment of the Coptic family," said Bahaa Ramzy, president of Coptic Dutch Association.
AINA said he continued, "We requested the immediate release of three Copts to establish a fact finding committee affiliated to human rights organizations of the EU because of the fabricated charges against Copts, and linking Egypt's economic aid to the human rights of the Copts."
"It is unacceptable what the Copts are going through in Egypt, and we protest that families are held captive by the authorities," AINA reported Ramzy said. "What have the parents to do with this? Why take them as captives? This is collective punishment for the whole family."