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Viewing cable 09CAIRO172, EGYPTIAN COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF RECONVERT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09CAIRO172 2009-02-01 13:01 2011-02-16 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Cairo
VZCZCXYZ0004
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHEG #0172 0321321
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 011321Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1502
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 000172 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NSC STAFF FOR PASCUAL; DRL/IRF FOR COFSKY 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/01/2029 
TAGS: PHUM PGOV KIRF SOCI EG
SUBJECT: EGYPTIAN COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF RECONVERT 
 
REF: 08 CAIRO 244 
 
Classified By: Minister-Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs William R. Stewart for Reason 1.4(d). 1.(C) In late December, the Alexandria Administrative Court ruled that the GoE must recognize the conversion to Christianity of Fathi Labib Youssef, who was born Christian, converted to Islam in 1974, and then, in 2005, reconverted to Christianity. The Alexandria court's decision follows the February 2008 decision of Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court requiring the GoE to recognize the reconversion of 12 other Christian-born Muslims to Christianity (reftel). The GoE has until February 20 to appeal the decision and has not yet announced its intentions. According to Peter Al Naggar, a lawyer involved in the case, Youssef will not seek the enforcement of the order until the appeal period expires. 2.(SBU) The Alexandria Court recently released its written opinion in the case. In the opinion, the judge cites Egypt's constitutional guarantee of religious freedom and provisions of Egypt's civil code permitting amendments to identification documents as the basis for his ruling. In contrast to the February 2008 decision, the judge did not discuss the theological or societal implications of conversion. Also in contrast to the 2008 decision, the order does not require that any identification documents issued pursuant to it reflect that Youssef is a convert from Islam. 3.(C) While the decision is positive, the issue of implementation is key; that will not be clear until Youssef applies for new identification documents. To date, the GoE's record of enforcing court decisions affecting minority religious rights is not encouraging. Nearly one year after Egypt's highest administrative court ruled in favor of the 12 reconverts, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) has refused to issue new identification documents to the successful litigants. Instead, the MoI claims a pending legal challenge to the 2008 decision, which asserts that the Supreme Administrative Court exceeded its authority, prohibits it from enforcing the order. After numerous delays, the Supreme Administrative Court will consider the challenge on February 7.SCOBEY