Supreme Administrative Court Moves to Consider Religious Conversion Case

Press Release

2 July 2007

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) today welcomed the decision by the Appeals Inspection Chamber of the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) to hear the case of Christian converts to Islam who are unable to officially revert to their original faith. The first hearing on the merits of the appeal is scheduled to take place on 1 September.
"Today's ruling is undoubtedly a step in the right direction," said Hossam Bahgat, Director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. "We are hopeful and optimistic that the Supreme Administrative Court will eventually uphold the principles of religious freedom and non-discrimination, both of which are guaranteed under the Constitution and international law."
The lower Court of Administrative Justice had last April decided that Christian converts to Islam who have reverted to Christianity were not entitled to identity cards and other official documents recognizing their Christian religious affiliation. Identity documents are mandatory for all citizens and necessary for education, employment, marriage, inheritance and other essential aspects of everyday life. Twelve of the plaintiffs in these cases appealed the decisions before the SAC.
In today's decision the Appeals Inspection Chamber rejected the Interior Ministry's plea to dismiss the appeal and referred the matter to the First Circuit of the SAC which will consider a decision on the merits of the case.
The EIPR had intervened in all of the twelve cases in support of the appellants and their legal defense teams.