Court dismisses Islamist lawsuit over Shehata’s whereabouts

The State Council’s Administrative Court on Tuesday declined a lawsuit filed by Islamist lawyers that called for revealing the whereabouts of alleged Muslim convert Kamilia Shehata.

Some Islamists claim Shehata is held by church authorities against her will.

Over the past few months, the five-day disappearance of Shehata, wife of a priest in Upper Egypt, aroused controversy.

Coptic activists staged a series of protests across Egypt accusing Muslims of kidnapping her and forcing her to convert to Islam in July 2010.

Shehata was later found at a friend's house. It was revealed that she left home willingly after a conflict with her husband. The Coptic Church denied, however, that Shehata converted to Islam.

Then Shehata disappeared a second time, this time riling some Muslims that the church was holding her against her will. But the church’s announcement failed to end protests staged at a number of mosques calling for Shehata's release from alleged captivity.

A video aired on Coptic websites last month showed Shehata with her husband and son. She confirmed her Christian faith and denied allegations of converting to Islam.

Last Tuesday, the court rejected Islamic lawyers’ requests demanding Shehata’s presence in the court so as to confirm whether she had converted to Islam. Defending its decision, the court said it does not intend to investigate her beliefs but only whether she was detained.

Judicial source told the German news agency DPA that the court threw out the lawsuit, after the video proved that the church was not holding Shehata.

Naguib Gabrael praised the court's dismissal as the “correct decision.” The court closed the case because it appeared that Shehata was not held by the church, said Gabrael.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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