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Egypt arrests Christian human rights activists

.- On August 8, members of the State Security Investigations (SSI) arrested and detained two Egyptian Christian human rights activists in Cairo, Adel Fawzy Faltas and Peter Ezzat Mounir. Computers and documents were confiscated from their homes at the time of the arrests.

According to Christian Solidarity International, although no formal charges have been announced, security officials claim the two men insulted Islam, preached Christianity, incited Christian-Muslim confrontation, and maintained an unlawful association with a foreign organization. The two Christian prisoners are being held incommunicado at the Lazoghly Square, headquarters of the SSI.

SSI officials routinely torture political prisoners within the first three days of incarceration.

Adel Fawzy Faltas heads the Egyptian branch of the Canadian-based Middle East Christian Association (MECA) - a religious liberty organization. Peter Ezzat Mounir is believed to be a MECA associate. The organization's corporate identity statement calls for secularism, equality, and full citizenship for Christians living in Egypt and the broader Middle East.

The arrests follow increased MECA activity in Egypt, including the submission of a lawsuit against Egypt's President and other members of the Egyptian government on behalf of victims of the anti-Christian al-Kosheh riots in 2000, the distribution of a book documenting the persecution of Egyptian Christians, and the highly publicized advocacy of the rights of a Christian convert.
Writing today to U.S. President George Bush, CSI-USA's Chairman Dr. John Eibner stated:

"The arrests of Messrs. Fawzy Faltas and Ezzat Mounir take place against a background of increasing state-sponsored persecution of Christians in Egypt and growing intolerance of Christians and other religious minorities throughout the Middle East. If present trends of violence, intimidation and discrimination continue, the tragic fate of oriental Jewry could soon befall Middle Eastern Christians."

Dr. Eibner also urged President Bush to "request from Egypt's head of state, Pres. Hosni Mubarak, the immediate release of the three Christian prisoners, and to impress upon him the need for Egypt to respect the internationally confirmed human rights of religious and secular minorities."

Note: Yesterday, CSI stated that a third Egyptian Christian, Adeel Ramses Kosman, had also been arrested. This report has not been confirmed.


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