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ICC Note: Mohamed Hegazy converted form Islam to Christianity at the age of 16. He is the first Egyptian convert to openly seek a change of religion on his ID, doing so for the sake of his children’s rights in the future. He is currently being held in prison for charges that have either been cleared or have passed their statute of limitations and continues to face harsh treatment. The National Security is intent on keeping the Christian man in prison despite his civil rights as an Egyptian.

06-22-2015 Egypt (World Watch Monitor): 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.

A follower of Christ by choice since he was 16, Hegazy was briefly jailed and tortured in 2002 by the SSI; after that experience he – later with his family – lived mainly in hiding.

Arrested again in December 2013 while filming a protest in Minya, he was eventually sentenced to five years in prison on charges including spreading false information to “cause harm or damage to public interest.”

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