Saturday, October 6, 2012

Egypt: Copt Teacher Wrongly Accused

Posted: 05 Oct 2012 12:55 PM PDT
I mentioned this case a couple of days ago, but the details are chilling. To call this a happy ending would be to ignore all the people who willingly went along with a baseless accusation against a Copt:
A Coptic teacher who was arrested last week on charges of contempt for religion and insulting Prophet Mohamed has been released, and all charges dropped, her lawyer confirmed to Ahram Online.

The case is one of several recent incidents in which Egypt's Coptic minority found itself under fire.

Nevine Gad, a social studies teacher at a preparatory school in Manfalout village, in Assiut in Upper Egypt, was explaining a lesson on Islamic history with a section on the life of the Prophet Mohamed in a class on Wednesday last week.

The next day she was told that a pupil, Mohamed Moustafa Ahmed Hashim, had filed a complaint against her, claiming that she had said something offensive about the Prophet.

Following that, more than 20 teachers working with her at the same school also complained about her to the school administration, based on the student's story.

After investigating, the administration dismissed the complaint because of the conflicting accounts of the students from the class, and a lack of evidence. To avoid problems, Gad was suspended from teaching temporarily.

However, on Sunday afternoon, police arrested Gad and took her to an Assiut police station, on charges of contempt of religion and insulting Prophet Mohamed, following a complaint from Moustafa Ahmed Hashim, the student in question's father, who is known locally to be a Salafist.

Gad denied all charges, but was detained and spent the night in a solitary confinement cell, her lawyer told Ahram Online, causing her family great worry as she is eight months pregnant.

The next day, she went before the attorney-general of Assiut, who asked her about the validity of the statements, and she again denied all the allegations.

Lawyer Magdy Farouk told Ahram Online exclusively that during the investigations, he had noticed inconsistencies in the statements and complaints of the student in question.

In addition, Gad remembered that this student was absent on Wednesday and Thursday, and therefore could not have attended the lesson.

"The educational administration in Assiut supplied us with the official student attendance lists for those two showed that the student, Mohamed Moustafa Ahmed Hashim, who accused her, was absent and didn't attend that lesson. The police then released her yesterday [Wednesday] and closed the case file, considering it a malicious complaint," said Farouk.

"Most lawyers had refused to get involved in this case, fearing for their lives, but I agreed to defend her and to attend the investigations with her after I got security guarantees from a well-known businessman from Upper Egypt," he added.

Farouk cited concerns related to a case a month ago when lawyers defending, Bishoy Kamel, another Coptic teacher accused several months ago of contempt of religion, were attacked at the courthouse in Sohag in Upper Egypt.
Gad was lucky, but look how easily anyone can get someone to be arrested in Egypt! Not only that, but Gad's fellow teachers, instead of acting in solidarity with her, threw her under the bus.

It is apparent that everyone in Egypt is so frightened of being perceived as being soft on blasphemy that the accusers have the cards stacked in their favor.

The question  is whether the student's father will be prosecuted for knowingly endangering an innocent, pregnant Coptic woman.

I think we all know the answer to that. Elder of Ziyon

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