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Coptic woman imprisoned under harsh conditions

Girgis Waheeb

07 Jun 2013 4:20 pm

Suad Akhnoun, the mother of the young Coptic man Abra’am Zaky who is in hiding and who is alleged to have helped the Muslim young woman Rana Hatem al-Shazli—commonly known

as the Wasta girl—to convert to Christianity, is being detained in Minya prison under inhuman conditions, according to her lawyer Ihab Ramzy. Ramzy has sent a plea to the Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim calling for her to be moved and treated in a manner that takes into consideration her rights as a human being and as an invalid. Akhnoun, Ramzy says, is detained in a cell 1sq.m. wide and is allowed to access the toilet only once-a-day, even though she is a diabetic.
Shazli’s disappearance last March was cause for sectarian violence against the town Copts, in collective punishment for allegedly helping her convert to Christianity and flee Egypt. The 21-year-old university student is now in Turkey but is in contact with her family and says she has not converted. Her Islamist father and uncle, however, insist she has been ‘tricked’ by black magic into converting to Christianity and that the Church should return her to her family. The Church, for its part, says it has nothing to do with Shazli’s disappearance.
Since her disappearance, the young woman has sent her parents several letters, which she also posted online, saying she had left home to flee sexual abuse by her uncle, followed by attempts by her father to marry her off to a man she did not want. She wrote that she had married a Muslim and was expecting a baby, and that they left the country. But Hatem al-Shazli has accused Zaky of being the key person in his daughter’s conversion. 
The entire Zaky family were caught by the police and charged with being accomplices to Abra’am Zaky. The father, Zaky Andrawus, the mother Suad Akhnoun, and a cousin, Peter Bahig are all charged with collaborating with Abra’am in hiding Shazli, seizing her money, forcing her to convert to Christianity and facilitating the procedures of her travelling to Turkey. Abra’am’s name has been placed on the travel ban lists.
Watani International
7 June 2013


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