Egypt: Detention extended of Christians arrested for distributing Copies of Bible

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Coptic Christians

Coptic Christians arrested for distributing copies of Bible face an extended detention.

According to details, Ishaq Medhat a Coptic Christian was purportedly arrested when he had nine copies of the Bible with him at the Mall of Arabia 6th of October City. Another Coptic Christian Medhat, was arrested over same charges.

As detailed by a Coptic activist and journalist Nader Shoukry, “Medhat was initially charged with inciting sectarian strife and harming national unity, but latterly had a charge of insulting religion added to his case.” The activist further added that, “They use pre-trial detention as a punishment and there in no reason for his detention; his defence lawyers are calling for his release.”

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In line with Ishaq Ibrahim, who is a researcher on religious freedoms at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), clearly stated that Egypt has no law that makes the act of attempting to convert illegal.

However, he said that “they use Article 98 of the penal code that criminalises the exploitation of religion for the purposes of inciting sectarian strife and harming national unity and social peace”. According to Egyptian law, individuals convicted of violating Article 98 are likely to face a prison sentence of between six months and five years, or a fine.