Bishoy Armia Boulous, formerly known as Mohammed Hegazy, is imprisoned by Egyptian authorities on trumped-up charges for photographing Muslim attacks on Christians and then held illegally after his sentence was complete, Boulous is beaten several times a week, said attorney Karam Ghobriel.
The physical abuse has continued in addition to Boulous’ illegal detention, Ghobriel said. Boulous remains in Tora Prison despite completion of a one-year sentence that should have ended in December for a charge of spreading false information meant to “cause harm or damage to the public interest” of Egypt, he said.
They are beating him to humiliate him, hoping he will change his mind, hoping he will go back to the way he was instead of insisting on Christianity.
Egyptian authorities arrested Boulous on Dec. 2, 2013, at a café at the Agricultural Association in Minya, 260 kilometers (161 miles) south of Cairo, and accused him of working for The Way TV, a Coptic Christian-owned, U.S.-based television channel that broadcasts into Egypt via satellite.
Boulous, 31, left Islam when he was 16 years old. In 2002, among other instances of persecution, he was jailed and tortured by the Egyptian government’s internal police, known as the State Security Investigations Services (SSI).
Boulous filed a lawsuit to force the Ministry of Interior to change the religious affiliation listed on his state-mandated national identification card from Muslim to Christian.
In response to the lawsuit, some Islamic leaders in Egypt called for Boulous’ death, and he suffered through numerous attacks, including having his home set on fire by a group of militant Muslims.
Human rights groups in Egypt and around the world have complained that Boulous’ current case has been riddled with legal irregularities.