Egypt Release Christian Placed in Mental Hospital for Converting From Islam

An Egyptian Christian was released from mental hospital following international pressure over his five-month forcible commitment to the mental hospital, and being charged from apostasy from Islam, Compass Direct has informed.

Gasir Mohammed Mahmoud was released on 9th June 2005 from the El-Khanka Hospital for Mental and Neurological Health in Cairo, Egypt.

Mahmoud was adopted and raised by a Muslim couple who were shocked last December after finding out that he had converted to Christianity two year before. Afterwards, his father appealed to local Muslim sheikhs prompting them to issue a death sentence against his son for apostasy.

However, his mother appealed to local state security police to protect her son from being killed, which resulted in Mahmoud's subjection to seemingly endless rounds of interrogation and a series of arrests.

Initially following his arrest, Mahmoud expressed that he was questioned "in a decent way" in the presence of state security officer Mohammed Amar. However, when he was transferred to a different official, who was accompanied by two Muslim sheikhs, they tried to convinced him to re-convert to Islam again.

After eight days, eating only the food that other fellow-imprisoned people shared with him, he was sent to Suez Security Directorate. After four days he was released.

His first footsteps led to an evangelical church where he asked for another copy of the Bible, since his was destroyed: "But they were afraid," Mahmoud said, "and refused to give me a Bible."

When he returned home, a messenger was already waiting for him telling him to meet Mohammed Amar again. During the next set of interrogations, when asked why he went to church; Mahmoud said he could not stop himself from going there.

"So he started to torture me, to pull off the nails of my toes," Mahmoud said. "Now I’m still not able to wear shoes because of the pain."

This torture continued for a further 18 days, and included stripping him naked and dousing him with ice-cold water over and over.

After 15 days in detention at the Suez police station, he faced charges from his father that he was beaten by his son. The charges were found to be completely false, and the district attorney ordered his release.

After 4 days, police officials took Mahmoud by police car to Cairo's Abbasseya Hospital. However, this institution refused to take him, and so they returned to Suez.

On 10th January, police took him to El-Khanka Hospital where he was accepted and a medical committee to investigate his case was formed.

But his suffering was to continue as "they put me (Mahmoud) in a room without any clothes," Mahmoud recalled. "They filled the room with water, to prevent me from sleeping." During his confinement, he was beaten at times and prescribed heavy medicaments to take two times a day.

Dr. Nevine, Mahmoud's supervising physician told him he would be never able to leave unless he re-converts.

However, after international concern and intervention the hospital authorities decided to release him.

The doctor who discharged him contacted his mother to come and collect him from the hospital. However, he was not able to come back home, as his mother warned him he would face problems from his father and further state security police intervention.

She reserved a hotel room for him after his release, however, he found a different place to stay through Christian friends in the city.