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ICC Note: Mohamed Hegazy should be freed from jail. The Egyptian Christian convert from Islam has faced torture, pressure to recant his faith and extended jail time since he converted to Christianity when he was 16 years old. Hegazy has never been convicted of any real crime and his harassment began after he tried to get his religion changed on his official identification card from Islam to Christianity. In Islam, leaving the faith, or “apostasy,” is punishable by death.

6/22/15 Egypt (WWM) – Having spent most of his adult life either harassed, in hiding, or in jail, former Muslim now Christian Mohamed Hegazy can expect more of the same.

Hegazy, who has been in prison since December 2, 2013, is known to be the first Egyptian to openly seek a change from Muslim to Christian on his ID card. The reason, he said, was to save his soon-to-be-born child from the persecution that he has had to endure.

The convert is now in jail for either a sentence that concluded six months ago, or on a 2009 charge of “contempt” of Islam whose statute of limitation has likewise expired, his lawyer, Karam Ghobrial, says.

Having already been cleared of two of three charges relating to several ‘crimes’, one thing is evidently clear: the National Security (the new name for the long-feared State Security Investigations Services, the SSI) is intent on not letting him go.

In August 2007, Hegazy, known by his Christian name Boulous, or Paul, petitioned the government to change his religious affiliation from Muslim to Christian. Stating a religion is a mandatory requirement on every Egyptian’s government-issued ID card and, as such, a pathway to one’s own civil existence in the country

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