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6/8/2024 Egypt (International Christian Concern) — For more than two years, Egyptian authorities have held two Christian men without a trial. Their crime? Answering theological questions on Facebook.

Abdulbaqi Saeed Abdo and Nour Girgis were detained in late 2021 for their interactions with a Facebook group called “Al Abareen,” which means “to cross over.” The group supports new Christians who left Islam. Upon their arrest, Egyptian authorities attempted to link the men’s interactions with the page to terrorist activities.

During the last two years, authorities have moved the two men to multiple detention centers as their trials have been repeatedly postponed. Abdo and Girgis have been kept in poor living conditions and have had limited interaction with their families or legal counsel.

Abdo, a Yemeni refugee who is married with children, was charged with joining a terrorist group, having contempt for Islam, and discriminating against Islam. He suffers from heart and living conditions. In April 2024, prison authorities denied him medical treatment for chest pains. He is currently being held at the 10th Ramadan Prison in Egypt.

Girgis, who was transferred to a terrorism unit and accused of leading Al Abareen, was charged with blaspheming Islam and discussing religious conversion online. He endured several interrogations, as well as emotional and physical torture.

ADF International recently called on Egyptian authorities to release Abdo and Girgis.

“The freedom of religion and belief is an unalienable human right, worthy of the highest protection,” Samuel Brownback, former U.S. Senator, Governor of Kansas, and Ambassador-At-Large for International Religious Freedom, said in an ADF press release. “What has happened to these two men in Egypt is unacceptable and an undeniable violation of their right to worship freely. Hostility towards religion is becoming a global problem, and advocates for freedom must continue to speak out against these injustices that plague religious minorities, including in Egypt. These two men must be released and exonerated.”

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