The Coptic 17-year-old girl Susanna Reda Thabet who had disappeared on 31 January has been found by the police and returned to her family which comes from the village of Hassan Basha in Samalout, Minya, Upper Egypt. Fearing the situation n the village, however, the girl was handed to relatives in Cairo.
The girl’s father, who is blind and is a cantor at the church of the Holy Virgin in Hassan Basha had reported to the police her disappearance. He said that two young men riding a tuc-tuc had kidnapped the girl at 1pm on 31 January while on her way home from a visit to an aunt who lives 5km away.
Some 500 villagers from Hassan Basha held then several demonstrations in front of Minya governorate building demanding the return of the teenager. Minya Governor Tarek Hassan Nasr met representatives of the protestors and promised the girl would be returned to her family.
Rumours had been circulating in the village that the girl was having a romance with a young Muslim man, and that he was the alleged abductor. Such romances between Muslim men and Christian women are known to occasionally occur; the women frequently leave home, convert to Islam, and marry the men. Problems arise, however, when the women are underage, meaning they are in no position—both legally and socially—to take such life changing decisions as conversion or marriage. According to Egyptian law, the underage woman should be handed to her family. If the girl fears her family and wishes to stay away, the girl is handed to relatives or to the Church.
Susanna’s family and friends feared that if the girl was not quickly found, her abductors might hide her a few months till she is 18 years old when she can legally get married. She was born on 18 July 1998.
12 February 2016