Monday, 23 July 2007

Egyptian Police Release a Convert woman to Her Violent Muslim Family

Islamist relatives beat young woman; her life is threatened by Muslim extremists.

by Barbara G. Baker 

ISTANBUL, July 23 (Compass Direct News) – Egyptian police in Alexandria who last week arrested a Christian convert woman today handed her over to her fanatical Islamist family, who beat her before driving her away.

Eyewitnesses said family members of Shaymaa (Eman) Muhammad al-Sayed, 26, today dragged her screaming from the police station where she had been closeted. According to the eyewitnesses outside Alexandria’s Bab-Sharky police station, Al-Sayed’s relatives severely beat her in the Shatby Cemetery behind the police station at 4 p.m.


She was then forced into a family microbus and driven off toward the district of Abeis, east of Alexandria, where her father’s knitting factory is located.
 

One week ago, on July 16, these same family members openly threatened to kill Al-Sayed for leaving Islam to become a Christian, after spotting her walking through a fair in Alexandria.

 

Local police promptly took her into “protective custody,” allegedly to prevent her physical harm at the hands of her irate Muslim relatives.

 

But instead of protecting her, local police and State Security Investigation (SSI) officials have subjected the threatened woman to days of severe physical and emotional torture. Her maltreatment included electrical shocks, beatings and being photographed naked.

 

Her repeated requests to press charges against her family for attempting to kidnap and kill her were ignored.

  At one point, Col. Abdel-Ghany Hamada of the Division of Public Affairs commanded four of his officers to beat her with their shoes while he interrogated her for hours about her forged Christian identity papers.  

After becoming a Christian in January 2003, Al-Sayed had obtained Christian identity papers under the name of Maryan Eleya Saleeb and married a Christian man. Egyptian law does not permit anyone born a Muslim to change his or her religion, nor can a Muslim woman marry a Christian.
 

On Saturday (July 21), Al-Sayed was transferred to Cairo, assumedly to be arraigned on forgery charges before the Division of Public Affairs.

 But after being shuttled around Cairo from an SSI headquarters to a holding cell of the Division of Public Affairs and then to the Al-Mosky police station, Al-Sayed was sent without explanation back to Alexandria last night.  

At noon today, authorities then transferred her from the Bab-Sharky police station to the SSI headquarters in Al-Faraana, where Lt. Col. Issam Shawki and Lt. Col. Adel Nafie continued to issue dangerous threats to her.
 

About the same time, Lt. Col. Waleed Fayyed of the Bab-Sharky police station sent word to Al-Sayed’s father, uncle and brother around noon today to come and take custody of her from the police station.


Although fully aware of the family’s threats to kill Al-Sayed, the police failed to require her family to sign any guarantee that she would not be harmed. Despite the young woman’s legal adult status, she was unable to obtain any restraining order to secure her personal safety.


After El-Sayed’s family learned of her conversion to Christianity in January 2003, they had severely abused her as they were determined to force her to return to Islam and marry a cousin active in the Al-Salafiyeen extremist movement.


Since she fled home four years ago, her father has reportedly filed three missing person’s reports with the police in attempts to track her down.


“But she is not a minor, she is an adult,” Egyptian Christian advocate Rasha Noor told Compass today. “Why did the authorities give her over to her family, when they know that her relatives want to kill her?”


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Copyright 2007 Compass Direct News
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