CAIRO: A lawyer filed a complaint Sunday to the Prosecutor General to investigate the disappearance last month of a Coptic woman and her three children.
Micheal Mikhaeal, the woman’s husband, filed a similar complaint.
Lawyer Mamdouh Nakhla, who also heads The Word Center for Human Rights, demanded that the police reveal the woman’s whereabouts, accusing them of deliberately withholding the information.
Nagwa Sergious, 39, disappeared along with her three children Marina, 17 and twins Mario and Micheal, 9, in Tenth of Ramadan City where they live.
Dozens of Copts, led by members of the missing woman’s family, held a protest inside St. Mark’s Cathedral in Abbaseyya on Wednesday during Pope Shenouda’s weekly sermon, asking him to intervene.
Nakhla claimed that the woman’s father had gone to Al-Azhar to check if she had converted to Islam. He was reportedly told by an anonymous source that she did convert, but that her children did not.
“Concealing the place of the mother and her underage kids is a forced disappearance crime and human trafficking,” said Nakhla. “This is illegal according to international law, and those who are involved should be presented to the International Criminal Court under the Rome Treaty.”
Nakhla said that even if the children hypothetically converted to Islam, their testimony does not stand since they are still legal minors.
Nakhla further demanded that Sergious’ neighbor, a woman who wears the niqab, give testimony to the Prosecutor General, since he believes that she is behind the Coptic woman’s hiding and conversion to Islam.
Adel Ibrahim Sergious, Nagwa’s brother, said that his sister was incited to convert by her neighbor confirming that he found a small Quran under his sister’s pillow.
Last month, Kamilia Shehata Zakher, the wife of Tadros Samaan, the Bishop of Saint Mark’s Church in Mowas Cathedral in Minya, had reappeared after a week-long disappearance that led to similar protests by Copts. Despite rumors that she too had converted to Islam, sources inside the church said that she had left home following a domestic dispute.
Observers have connected the recent to the high profile case of Wafaa Costanteen, the wife of a Bishop Beheira governorate in 2004.
Costanteen had left her husband when she converted to Islam, but following over a month of protests by Copts and the intervention of Pope Shenouda, who retreated to the Wadi Natroun Monastery in an expression of serious objection, Costanteen was handed over to the church and made to convert back.