Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, November 26, 2007

Coptic woman sentenced to jail because of her father’s beliefs

An Egyptian Christian woman has been sentenced to three years in jail because of her father’s conversion from Christianity to Islam 45 years ago, Agence France-Presse reported last week. Because of her father’s conversion, she legally became a Muslim, even though her official papers said she was a Christian, the women’s lawyer said November 22.

According to the article: “Shadia Nagui Ibrahim, 47, was charged with fraud for stating Christianity as her religion on her marriage certificate, unaware that her father's conversion to Islam in 1962 had made her officially a Muslim,” Michael Maurice told AFP.

Shadia’s father, Nagui Ibrahim left his home in 1962 when his daughter was only two years old. He converted to Islam and took on the Muslim name Mustafa. After three years, he returned home and re-converted to Christianity. In the process, he had someone forge his documents back to say he was a Christian.

“State reluctance to allow citizens to put their religion of choice on national identity cards means many seek forged documents that can result in criminal prosecution, New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a report earlier this month,” the article notes, adding: “In 1996, the man who forged Ibrahim’s documents was detained for falsifying dozens of documents and confessed to changing Ibrahim’s papers.”

Shadia Ibrahim was charged with “providing false information on official documents” for stating she was Christian on her marriage certificate in 1982.

“After a lengthy trial, she was sentenced to three years in absentia in 2000 but the case was subsequently dropped,” the article says, adding: “She was detained again in August this year and sentenced to three years on Wednesday after just one brief court session, her lawyer said.”

For the full article, click here.


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