A Coptic Christian arrested for handing out copies of the Bible has had his detention extended for the second time and a new charge added to his case.
Ishaq Medhat was originally from Beni Obeid in Minya, Egypt, and is a church custodian. He was reportedly arrested whilst in possession of nine copies of the Bible, and his detention was extended for a second 15-day period last Monday.
According to Coptic journalist Nader Shoukry, Medhat was initially charged with “inciting sectarian strife” and “harming national unity”, but latterly has had a charge of “insulting religion” added to his case.
“They use pre-trial detention as a punishment and there in no reason for his detention; his defence lawyers are calling for his release,” Shoukry said.
Ishaq Ibrahim, a researcher on religious freedoms at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), previously told Daily News Egypt that there is 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”.
Individuals convicted of violating Article 98 face a prison sentence of between six months and five years, or a fine.
- Pray for Ishaq Medhat, and other Christians wrongly imprisoned in Egypt. Pray for strength, faith and a speedy release without conviction.
- Pray for those working for the rights of Christians in Egypt, that they will be heard by the Government, and Egyptian Christians will have freedom to worship without fear.
- Pray for the Church in Egypt and North Africa, to continue to grow in both numbers and depth of faith, and to witness positively for Christ.
Hebrews 13 vs 3: “Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured.”
Source: http://www.dailynewsegypt.com, http://www.persecution.org/2015