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02/11/2022 Egypt (International Christian Concern) – For the first time, a Coptic Christian becomes President of the Supreme Constitutional Court. Coptic Christian judge Boulos Fahmy was promoted by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi in a move that has been largely praised by the international community for the representation of religious minorities.

The new Supreme Court judge will be called upon to verify and confirm the constitutionality of laws and regulations issued by the Egyptian authorities. The Constitutional Court is also the supreme instance to be used in the event of conflicts of jurisdiction and is called upon to resolve the contradictions between judgments issued by the judicial authorities.

And yet, the persecution and blasphemy cases against Egypt’s Coptic community are unlikely to ever reach the Supreme Court. Hanna*, a Coptic Christian living in Minya Province, faces jail time as a result of police persecution. Hanna was hired by a group of Muslims to transport livestock. During transport, his vehicle was stopped by policemen, and the livestock was found to be in violation of a misdemeanor crime. Even though the Muslims who hired him vouched that he had no part in the crime, policemen continued to push charges and jail time. Hanna and his family now struggle to pay their lawyer fees, and his future is unknown while he awaits trial. His case, and those of many other Christians, are unlikely to ever be heard under the new Coptic President of the Supreme Court, leaving little to no change in the day-to-day discrimination Christians in Egypt face.

An update to the country’s personal status law has been pending for some time, a move that is generally welcomed but also lacks day-to-day religious freedom change for Coptic Christians.

*Name changed for privacy

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