Libyan Authorities Torture Arrested Coptic Christian Accused of Proselytizing
ICC Note: Seven Christian foreigners have been arrested in Libya in recent weeks for allegedly proselytizing and distributing Christian literature. According to Morning Star News, one of the Christians, Sherif Ramses from Egypt, has been tortured while being held in Benghazi. The Christians include a South African, Swedish-American, and several Egyptians. The Christians have yet to be officially charged.
2/25/2013 Libya (CP) -Libyan authorities continue to imprison Christians under accusations of proselytization. As of last week the number reached to seven in custody, including an Egyptian Copt named Sherif Ramses who sources say has been tortured.
"All the detainees were being held in Benghazi," the paper noted, though it added that the prisoners have yet to be officially charged.
The paper continued, "Preventative Security spokesperson Hussein Bin Hmeid said in a statement to Reuters that the four Christians originally arrested were printing books calling for conversion to Christianity. He said the country is 100 percent Muslim and that proselytizing 'affects our national security.'"
MSN quoted sources close to the arrests as saying that Ramses has been tortured, noting that he was severely bruised. Several other sources independently told the newspaper that Preventative Security was able to get the names of other Christians in Libya from Ramses, possibly by accessing information on his cell phone.
Rumors were also circulating throughout Libya about another wave of arrests that took place on 17 February in Tripoli.
Regarding these arrests, MSN said that its sources in Libya reported that no one has been able to contact these detainees, learn their location or even get an estimate of the number of those arrest.
"They say it was a large group," the paper said a source in Cairo said. "They were supposed to be released but there has been no word."
Sources added that Ramses would most likely stand trial, while the other detainees would probably be released.
They added its unknown what penalty a guilty verdict would bring, as a law against proselytization is from the previous regime and Libya has yet to approve a new constitution or penal code.