By BosNewsLife News Center
CAIRO, EGYPT (BosNewsLife) -- Egyptian authorities have released a Christian convert from Islam who had been jailed without charges under Egyptâ€™s controversial emergency laws for the past two years, a Christian news agency reported Thursday, May 24.
Compass Direct News said officials at the Wadi el-Natroun Prison handed Bahaa el-Akkad an Egyptian bill worth nearly US$9 for a taxi fare late on the afternoon of April 28, telling him he was free to leave.
Within minutes, El-Akkad had gathered up his few things and flagged down a taxi outside the prison, located an hourâ€™s drive north of Cairo. He was reunited with his wife and three children by nightfall, the news agency reported.
No official reason was given for his release, which was reportedly confirmed by his attorney, Athanasius William. Notification of his release was apparently delayed for security reasons.
Compass Direct News said that just hours before his release, officers from the State Security Investigation (SSI) had reportedly told El-Akkad that he would remain in prison for another 10 years if he did not return to Islam.
However, "God has brought me to this place, and He alone will let me go to my home. You cannot do anything against God," the convert reportedly answered.
Bahaa el-Din Ahmet Hussein El-Akkad, now 58, was arrested on April 6, 2005 after Egyptâ€™s secret police learned he had converted to Christianity.
Formerly a devout, practicing Muslim, El-Akkad eventually managed to send a note out of prison, stating that he had "chosen the Christian faith" after years of research on Islam.
Although the convert was never informed what Egyptian law he was accused of breaking, the official interrogations indicated El-Akkad was arrested for â€œinsulting Islamâ€ by becoming a Christian.
There had been mounting international pressure on Egypt the past six months on Egypt to release the convert. (With reports from Egypt and Istanbul).
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