The 17-year-old Coptic girl Dimiana Gabrail who disappeared from her home in the village of Ezbet Wassef in Biba, Beni Sweif, some 100km south of Cairo, on Monday 23 November and was found and detained by the police has been handed to her family. Gabrail’s uncle and guardian—the girl is fatherless—had also been briefly detained pending investigation but was released.
The girl is underage and thus banned by law from taking life-changing decisions such as changing her religion or getting married. The law stipulates that an underage individual should be handed to his or her family; if any fears exist for the safety of such individuals on account of differences with their families, the families are made to sign a legal pledge they would do them no harm.
Gabrail had reported his niece’s disappearance to the police, and accused the 22-year-old Muhammad S. of abducting her and keeping her at the home of his friend Adbel-Azim E. The girl was found but detained, despite promises by the police that she would be handed to her family or, if she refused, to the Church. Rumours were rife that the girl would convert to Islam and marry the Muslim who had abducted her, but the police put and end to the rumours by handing her over to her family.
30 November 2015