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Ezbet Marco children handed to their parents, but not acquitted

Nader Shukry

25 Feb 2013 10:36 pm

The two boys Nabil Farag and Nady Rizq from the village of Ezbet Marco in Beni Sweif, 100km south of Cairo, both of whom are less than nine years old, have been ordered by court to be handed to their parents, but were not acquitted of the charge of disdaining Islam

The two boys Nabil Farag and Nady Rizq from the village of Ezbet Marco in Beni Sweif, 100km south of Cairo, both of whom are less than nine years old, have been ordered by court to be handed to their parents, but were not acquitted of the charge of disdaining Islam. 
The story goes back to last October when the Muslim villager Ibrahim Mohamed Ali filed a complaint with the prosecutor that the two children had desecrated the Qur’an by cutting pages out of it and throwing them into the garbage. It turned out that both children come from very poor families and are not enrolled in school, meaning they are illiterate. The said they had found the pages thrown on the ground in the alley, and had played with them, not knowing what was printed there. The police broke into the children’s houses at dawn and caught the two boys.
The wide media interest in the story drove President Mursi to announce that he pardoned the children and they had been handed to their parents. In fact however, and even though the children were indeed with their parents, they were charged in court with disdaining Islam.  The case lingered throughout four court sessions since last November till, on 4 February, the Beni Sweif court ordered the children to be handed to their parents, but did not explicitly acquit them.
The children’s parents appealed the ruling on grounds that there should have been no court case against them in the first place, and that the claimants testimony was contradictory. The appeal was seen yesterday, but the court ruled that there was no grounds for the appeal, meaning that the children are technically guilty as charged.
The children’s lawyers: Karam Ghabrial, Riyad Fayeq, Nabil Ghabrial, and Tharwat William, plan to take the case to the court of cassation—the highest degree in the judicial process. 
The senior Rizq and Farag are contributing whatever money they can spare to the cost of defending their children in court, but Rizq has almost lost his livelihood in the wake of the children’s incident. He used to rent the produce of several lemon trees and sell it for a living, but now the landlord no longer allows him to do so.
The children’s fathers say that, even though the boys lead near-normal lives, they have a phobia of any knock on the door after they have gone to bed; they cannot forget the dawn visit by the police, when they were caught. 
Watani International
26 February 2013


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