Church source: Husband of woman who allegedly converted to Islam disappears

A source at a church in Egypt's Minya governorate has reported that the husband of Kamilia Shehata, whose own disappearance sparked protests over speculation she had been detained by the church for converting to Islam, has disappeared.

The source in Der Mouas, Minya, said that Tedaous Samaan, a priest, has been missing since January, prompting his father, Aghapious – the city's archbishop – to send other priests to investigate.

The church does not suspect that the disappearance was the result of the crime, the source said. He said Samaan might have left because of the suffering he has endured since his wife's disappearance.

Shehata went missing in Minya in July 2010. Coptic activists staged a series of protests across Egypt accusing Muslims of kidnapping her and forcing her to convert to Islam. Muslims, in turn, staged protests accusing the Coptic Church of detaining Shehata in an unknown location.

Shortly after her disappearance, Shehata was found at a friend's house. It was revealed that she left home willingly after a conflict with her husband, but  she disappeared again later. The Coptic Church denied that Shehata converted to Islam.

Shehata has not made a public appearance or any comments to clarify the matter.

Earlier this week, in response to a report filed by Salafis, Egypt's prosecution sent a summons telling the church to compel or allow Shehata to appear and comment on her situation publicly. The church refused to receive the summons, arguing that Shehata has an official address and that the church does not detain anyone.

Another source said Shehata was rumored to have been meeting with her husband at an unknown location in Cairo, and both parties had allegedly been contacting their families before Samaan's disappearance.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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