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ICC Note: Mohamed Hegazy, also known as Bishoy, was the first ever Egyptian citizen who tried to have his religion changed on his ID card. After serving over two-and-a-half years in prison, he has declared his return to Islam to gain his freedom. He was arrested in 2013 for spreading a “false image” of persecution in Egypt, while many Muslim leaders called for his execution. Hegazy’s lawyer argues that he was coerced into his return to Islam.

08/06/2016 Egypt (Christian Post): The first Egyptian Christian convert to seek a change of religion on his ID card declared last week that he has returned to Islam after having been imprisoned for over two-and-a-half years.

In 2007, Mohamed Hegazy, also known by his Christian name Bishoy, became the first Egyptian man to sue the government to officially change his religion of record from Islam to Christianity so that his child could be raised as a Christian and get married in a church.

In response, many radical Muslim leaders called for Hegazy to be killed as an apostate. In December 2013, Hegazy, who worked for a Coptic Christian television station, was arrested and accused of spreading a “false image” of persecution against Christians in Egypt. In June of 2014, Hegazy was sentenced to five years in prison.

Hegazy’s lawyer has argued that the charges against his client were in retaliation to his attempt in 2007 to publicly change his religion and that his arrest violates the law. In June, a judge ruled that Hegazy was to be released.

Morning Star News reports, however, that security forces detained Hegazy again on June 29 at a jail in Ain Shams in Cairo. Hegazy was transferred from prison to prison and kept hidden from his lawyer, Karam Ghobrial, for a number of days until he was finally released on July 23.

World Watch Monitor provides a detailed run-down of all the jails that Hegazy was transferred to in order to make it tough for Ghobrial to complete the bailout process.

Although he was released on July 23, Hegazy appeared in a video posted to YouTube last Friday in which he reportedly recited the Islamic statement of faith, known to Muslims as the Shahadah.

Hegazy apologized to his family members who have threatened to kill him over his conversion.

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