World News

Religious freedom advocates urge Egypt to release imprisoned Christians

Nour Girgis and Abdulbaqi Saeed Abdo have been imprisoned without trial since 2021 for operating a Facebook page that supports conversion from Islam to Christianity.

Authorities charged the two Christians with terrorism-related activities. Girgis, who was an employee of a pharmaceutical company at the time, was requested to an attend a police station for interrogation in 2021. He was detained for 40 days and transferred to a Terrorism Unit where he was informally found guilty of leading a Facebook group called “Al Abareen”, which means “to cross over” in Arabic, and for committing blasphemy against Islam. Officials interrogated Girgis several times, without offering him any legal aid. He was humiliated and tortured.

Saeed was arrested for evangelism activities in December 2021. They transferred him to various incarceration facilities despite his frail physical condition. According to Elizabeth Francis, legal counsel for ADF International’s Global Religious Freedom team, Saeed’s family had to fight for visitation rights.

They both appealed for trial dates, but officials kept delaying the process. ADF International reported the case to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, on the basis that the Egyptian authorities have breached international law ethics for religious freedom and fair trial rights. Kelsey Zorzi, ADF International’s director of advocacy for Global Religious Freedom, stated: “The rights to religious freedom, free expression, and a fair trial are all enshrined in international law, and Egyptian authorities have blatantly violated these basic rights by detaining these men and prolonging their imprisonment. It is past time for these men to be released.”

Even though the Egyptian government praises the Christian community, the followers of Jesus are treated as second-class citizens. There are reports of Christian women being harassed while walking in the street and Christian communities being forced out of their homes by extremist groups. Churches and other Christian institutions face restriction when applying for permits to build new churches or run social establishments. Local authorities and law enforcement are unwilling to protect Christians.

Samuel Brownback, a former U.S. Senator and Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, stated: “The freedom of religion and belief is an unalienable human right, worthy of the highest protection. What has happened to these two men in Egypt is unacceptable, and an undeniable violation of their right to worship freely.”





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