Egypt Again Detains Christian Brothers; Believer Kidnapped

Sunday, May 31, 2009 | Tag Cloud

By Worthy News Middle East Service

CAIRO, EGYPT (Worthy News) -- Two Christian brothers were behind bars again Sunday, May 31, just weeks after being released from an Egyptian prison where they were held for a year on false charges of murdering a Muslim in Mallawi, Upper Egypt. 

Refaat and Ibrahim Fawzy Abdo were re-arrested May 20, as part of an "intimidation campaign" against Egyptian Christians, known as Copts, their lawyer and observers said.

The two were initially detained for allegedly killing a Muslim during an attack on Abu Fana monastery in Egypt in May 2008, despite a lack of evidence, Christians said.  

Advocacy groups reportedly fear the Interior Ministry will working with law enforcement officials to keep them detained, force a confession and make the Copts look guilty in the Abu Fana attack.

SECURITY FORCES

Egyptian security forces can incarcerate people without reason according to provisions in criminal law and Christians have expressed concerns the two brothers will be prosecuted outside the main judicial system. 

News of the detention came after reports that 21-year-old Mina Basily was abducted from his home in the town of Alexandria by four Muslim men on May 6. Middle East Christian Association said Muslims armed with swords, sticks and knives broke into the Basily family's home, assaulted Mina and forced him into a car parked outside. 

Neighbours who witnessed the kidnapping were reportedly too fearful to intervene. Police allegedly initially refused to file an official report of kidnapping. 

Local Muslims reportedly told police that Mina was kidnapped because of his relationship with a Muslim girl but the claims could not be independently confirmed. Rights investigators said the girl's family is hiding her from officials. Mina was reportedly handed over to the police but has been pressured to convert to Islam, Christians said.

Christian groups have expressed concerns over what they view as growing pressure on the country's Christian minority.

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