An Egyptian court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Muslims requesting the disclosure of the wife of a Coptic priest, whom the Muslims allege converted to Islam and was being held against her will by Christians.
The demand to know the whereabouts of Camilia Shehata was rejected by the court because the lawyers failed to provide sufficient proof to support their accusations that the Coptic Church was holding her against her will.
According to the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA) the attorney for Shehata, Dr. Naguib Gabriel said, “The only thing the Muslim lawyers delivered as proof for their claims were snippets of newspapers from the Internet.”
The case has been before the court for four months, over which time Gabriel advocated that Shehata was never detained by the Coptic Church, and that she never even converted to Islam as was being alleged.
A power of attorney was signed by Shehata for Gabriel to represent her in court, AINA has reported.
“This was issued by the public notary, by a Muslim employee and in which she wrote "Christian" beside her religious affiliation, while she could have easily written Muslim instead," said Gabriel.
"If she was really detained by the Church, she could have asked for help from the employee when she went to the notary," he added.
The court was not impressed by the evidence shown by the Islamic lawyers, and a request by them for Shehata to appear personally in court was flatly refused by the judges.
According to AINA Gabriel said following the decision: “Today's court ruling closes the curtain on one of the most famous and difficult cases in Egypt.
"Muslims will not be allowed to demonstrate regarding this matter anymore, which they used as a pretext to create sectarian strife between Muslims and Christians."
Muslims have accused the Coptic Church of abducting Shehata since July 2010 when following a row with her husband, Tedaos Samaan, a priest at St George’s Church , she went to stay with relatives.
The accusations came about because Shehata did not tell anyone of her whereabouts, which she now admits was her “biggest mistake,” according to an interview with Al-Hayat Christian TV Channel.
In the initial confusion Shehata’s husband believed she had been abducted by Muslims, and he gathered 3,000 Coptic Christians to protest against her disappearance in Cairo.
She was tracked down by state security forces days later, and she later reconciled with her husband. However, more than 20 Islamic demonstrations calling for the return of their “sister in Islam” meant she and her family have had to remain in hiding ever since, report AINA.