Egyptian Christian Rights Groups Request EU Investigate Egypt

By Mary Abdelmassih

(AINA) -- Acting on behalf of the European Union of Coptic Organizations for Human Rights (EUCOHR), The Coptic Dutch Association submitted yesterday an official memorandum to the European Parliament to open an international investigation into Dr. Mohamed Morsi, President of the Republic, and the Egyptian Interior Ministry because into the unlawful imprisonment of Christians.

This action 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, who 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 3-22-2013), then they 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, asked Interpol to bring Rana back, after accusing her of theft. Failing this, El Shazly brought charges against Ebram's family. Rana recently sent the third letter to her family in which she denies that she eloped with a young Copt. She affirmed that she is still a Muslim and is 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 4 days, on fabricated charges that they are members of the American missionary Organization Joyce Meyer and are distributing its magazine, stressing that the charges against them were fabricated in order to put pressure on them to return Rana.

The Coptic Dutch Association pointed out that it has CD of the condition of the mother of the young man, currently jailed in Minya and is seriously ill and was not allowed to be transferred to a hospital as a punishment to her and her family. The CD 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. "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." said Ramzy, "What have the parents to do with this? Why take them as captives? This is collective punishment for the whole family."

By Mary Abdelmassih

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