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More Arrests in Libya after Detention of Foreign Christians
Egyptian accused of distributing Christian books allegedly tortured.
ICC Note: Three Egyptian Christians were arrested in Libya in mid-February, raising the total number of Christians behind bars in the country to seven, Morning Star News reports. The crackdown began when four Christian foreigners, including a Swedish-American, were arrested on Feb. 10 following accusations of proselytizing and distributing Christian literature. Charges against the three Egyptians remain unknown. The Christians are currently being held in Benghazi and are undergoing interrogation.
2/23/2013 Libya (Morning Star News) – Arrests continue of Christians accused of proselytizing in Libya, with a total of seven now known to be in custody including one reported to have been tortured, sources said.
Four expatriate Christians in the eastern coastal town of Benghazi were arrested on Feb. 10, accused of proselytizing. Libya’s Preventative Security Unit arrested the Egyptian, South African, Korean and dual Swedish-American Christians, who have yet to be officially charged.
On Feb. 13, Preventative Security officers picked up two more Egyptian Christians, and another Egyptian Christian was arrested by Feb. 16, sources said. All the detainees were being held in Benghazi. It was unclear what led to their arrests.
Preventative Security spokesman 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.”
Only one of the four arrested on Feb. 10, Sherif Ramses of Egypt, has been publicly identified. When Ramses was arrested, he allegedly had 30,000 Bibles in storage, a figure that Libyan police inflated to 45,000 in published statements, sources said. Ramses ran a small printing service in Benghazi and a bookstore that sold both Christian and secular books.
Sources close to the arrests told Morning Star News that Ramses has been tortured, saying he was severely bruised. Several other sources independently told Morning Star News that Preventative Security was able to get the names of other Christians in Libya from Ramses, possibly by accessing information on his cell phone. It was unclear, however, if any Christians subsequently detained had any significant links to Ramses’ work.

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