His mother says her son, Fadi, is innocent and was targeted only because her Muslim neighbours, whose eight-year-old son was the alleged victim, “don’t like Christians”. The Muslim boy’s grandfather is an Imam at the local mosque.
The alleged incident took place in May last year, after which Fadi’s family were ordered to leave their home in the city of Shibin El Qanater, 30km north of Cairo. They have not been allowed to return since.
In June last year, the results of a forensic examination of the eight-year-old boy showed no evidence of sexual activity. Fadi’s mother, Hanaa, told World Watch Monitor she thought their ordeal was over, only to be “shocked” to learn the charges against her son remained.
Fadi’s case was brought to the juvenile court in Banha, capital of the Qalyubia Governorate, in November. After several hearings, he was pronounced guilty on 28 January.
“The judge convicted my son to 15 years because he is a Christian,” Hanaa told World Watch Monitor. “If he was a Muslim boy, the judge would acquit him when he saw the forensic report, because the forensic report absolved my son, but the judge wasn’t convinced of it because my son is Christian, so he believed the speech of [the Muslim boy’s] father instead of the forensic report.”
Hanaa added that she believed her Muslim neighbours disliked them because their business had been successful and they were rich.
“What did Fadi do to get such a harsh verdict?” asked lawyer Gabriel. “If Fadi was a murderer, the sentence wouldn’t be this long. He is a child and didn’t commit any crime. “The judge’s verdict wasn’t related to law, but faith. He said he was not convinced about the forensic report and believed the allegation of the father of the Muslim child.”
Gabriel added that the forced displacement of Fadi’s family was itself a crime and that the local police and politicians were responsible.
Fadi’s family are appealing against the verdict. Their appeal will begin on 7 March.
Source: World Watch Monitor
- Ask the Lord to sustain and strengthen this boy and his family during this trial.
- Pray they will receive support from their Christian family and wider community
- Pray for justice, may the facts of the case be brought to light. Pray for the lawyer Gabriel and those who will hear the appeal.