Terror Campaign on Mother of Abducted Toddler Parthenia and Human Rights Activists

"I am saying it out loud to everyone, the mother and I are threatened to be killed or being falsely charged of committing a crime by the Security Authorities and the Muslim Brotherhood. Should something happen to us, you know who did it" said Mr. Atef Helmy, journalist and activist in the Egyptian Human Rights Organization. Mr. Helmy added that even people who offered to help us, have received threats of being abducted from their homes and vanish forever, an attitude of using terror which he finds similar to that of the Mafia. Mother Mervat Rizkallah of Tanta, had her 3-year old toddler, Parthenia, abducted on 11.7.2008 by her ex-husband Fady Labib who converted to Islam. Although the judge ruled on 2.8.2008 that Parthenia should be handed over to her mother, the police refused to implement the court order.  An officer in Tanta police station, Amr el Hawa, said that he cannot hand over a child who became a Muslim, following her father’s conversion, to a Christian mother. "The police officers have taken over from the legislative authority in the country, they no longer have respect for the legal system, they decide everything now" commented Mr. Helmy. The father’s lawyer insisted during the court case that the daughter must live with the father, because he saw a tattoo of the cross on her arm and he is afraid that her mother will give her Christian teachings, and she will eat pork, drink wine, go to the church and get the manners of the non-Muslims. "This story is stranger than fiction. The security services of the Western province by refusing to implement the court order of handing over the toddler to her mother, is behaving in a very racist manner which destroys any principles of citizenship and equality, and undermines the rule of law. The mother runs around in search of her baby and all what she gets from the police is ‘lead us to where the child and her father are’ as if she were to turn into a detective" said Dr. Naguib Gabraeel, President of the Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organization. Due to pressure by Dr. Gabraeel on top Security officials in Cairo, the mother was given dates by Tanta policing for the implementation of the court order. The first instance was in August when her ex-husband appeared with the toddler, who looked neglected and had a 15cm burn in her arm, however, he refused to hand her over. The police did nothing to enforce the court order, and the officer sarcastically told the mother to sue her ex-husband!!! The second date was on 23rd December when the mother went with the police to her ex-husband’s home, everyone saw him running away down the street, without anyone trying to catch him. The mother was told by her ex-husband’s lawyer that her child has been sent to a Muslim children’s home which belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood Member of Parliament for Tanta, Mr. Sayed Askar, and that she will never be able to see her child again, as no one has any authority over this organization. She, however, is sure that the Ministry of Interior knows the whereabouts of this home. "Just because my ex-husband converted to Islam, everyone in Egypt is ready to help him. I have appealed to everyone including President and Mrs.Mubarak, but unfortunately it all fell on deaf ears", commented Rizkallah bitterly. Voice of the Copts together with the mother of toddler Parthenia are appealing to all the human rights organizations for help, as she had done everything in her might to get her child back and be equally treated like a Muslim mother, but with no success 

We also appeal to Ambassador Moushira KHATTAB, Secretary General, The National Council for Childhood and Motherhood, Egypt, and member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, to intervene so that a mother is not deprived of the custody of her little girl, and to receive equal treatment, since there is no difference between a Coptic and a Muslim child.


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