- (Photo: Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
The founder of the Association of Victims of Abduction and Forced Disappearance revealed an all too familiar situation occurring throughout Egypt.
Ibraam Lewis, founder of the Association of Victims of Abduction and Forced Disappearance (AVAFD), said that it was recently verified that Copt Demiana Ayoub Gad EL-Sayed Abdel Massih, 17, was kidnapped by Hossam Suleiman Ali Salem, 45.
In an interview with Mideast Christian News, Lewis recalled the girl disappeared on May 17, 2011 while on her way back home from private tutoring. A complaint was filed at Kantara Police Station, west of Ismailia Governorate.
Lewis explained that the girl's family traveled to Sharqiyya, where the home of Ali Salem is, and his wife and neighbors confirmed that the girl was present there. Massih's father asked them to give their statements in an official report.
The prosecution called for the arrest of Hossam Suleiman Ali Salem, who is the son of a former Muslim Brotherhood Member of Parliament, and ordered he be detained for 30 days. It was revealed that he was also accused of several other crimes, including check fraud, but Salem was eventually released.
Massih's father submitted a complaint in response, leading to Salem's arrest again while he was driving a stolen vehicle that contained drugs and weapons. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but the prosecution again released him and postponed the case, leading Massih's mother to file a complaint.
Lewis noted that there are rumors as to the girl's exact location, with some detailing that the accused is residing in the Arish area [North Sinai] along with the kidnapped girl under the protection of Bedouin tribes. Other rumors state that he fled with the girl to Dubai.
The disappearance and abduction of Coptic girls has increased significantly recently and the AVAFD has documents regarding the disappearance of over 500 Coptic girls. Their disappearance is due, in large part, to the pressure to convert to Islam. Lewis noted this surge is also fueled by the abolition of counseling sessions for conversions, which were held in order to ensure the citizen was converting religions of their own will.