Americans on trial for stealing Egyptian baby

Alexandria–Eight suspects, including three American citizens, are to be tried for attempting to smuggle a newborn into the United States using falsified birth information. The suspects were referred for trial by Attorney General Abdel Maguid Mahmoud.

Investigations supervised by Hesham el-Refai, first general attorney for appeal prosecution in Alexandria, found that an American businessman and his wife had agreed with a priest in Alexandria to smuggle an Egyptian child into the US. The wife reportedly had fertility problems.

Investigations revealed the involvement of Emad Mourice Halim Saleeb, 46, a priest at the Archangel Michael Church in Kafr Abdou; Atef Wadie Dous Gerges, 42, an Egyptian working as a church custodian in the US; Eissaa Ibrahim Gerges Suleiman, 76, head of the board of directors of the Victoria Hospital in Alexandria; Emad Nasr Ibrahim Ayyoub, head of the HR department of a company in Cairo; Suzi Halim Geneidi, 53, a gynecologist; Niveen Nabil Kamel Rizqallah, 24, working in Cairo; Mercedes Elena Graus Ishaq, 43, an American living in New Jersey; and Sherif Halim Beskales Ishaq, 41, owner of a restaurant chain in New York.

The suspects allegedly facilitated the kidnapping of a two-week-old infant named Michael Sherif Halim and falsely naming the American businessman and his wife as the infant’s parents on legal documents. The couple are also accused of falsifying the infant’s birth certificate and attempting to issue him an American passport in order to bring him to the US.

Secret investigations in Alexandria last November proved the priest in Alexandria had agreed with the American businessman and his wife to help them adopt a newborn, with the help of the church custodian, Gerges.

The church priest agreed to help the sixth suspect, Rizqallah, who had become pregnant whilst in an extra-marital relationship, give up her child. Rizqallah delivered her baby at the Victoria Hospital, run by the third suspect, Suleiman, who helped falsify the child’s birth information.

It was also agreed that the businessman would bear the expenses of the operation to deliver the child, and that the gynecologist would write a letter stating she had carried out the delivery at Virgin Georgios Medical Center, confirming that the baby had been delivered by the American wife.

The letter was then used to obtain a birth certificate for the child from Ibrahimiya Health Office, which named the American couple as the parents.

The couple confessed that they had come to Egypt to adopt a child, saying they had been given the child in question and had taken him to the US Embassy to issue a passport for him using the falsified birth certificate.

Rizqallah also confessed to giving up her illegitimate child with the help of the head of the Victoria Hospital and another person.

The prosecution charged the suspects with the crimes of forgery, adoption, and endangering the life of a child. It also ordered their imprisonment.

The child has been placed in an orphanage in Alexandria and the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood and the Civil Affairs Authority were notified of the incident in order to correct the child’s birth data and legally attribute his birth to his real mother.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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