Egyptian Christian family assaulted by authorities for seeking release of girl kidnapped by Muslims

The family of a Christian girl who was kidnapped by Muslims has been assaulted by Egyptian authorities after they went to the office of the national security services to demand for her release.

(REUTERS / Amr Abdallah Dalsh)Egyptian Christians shout slogans as ambulances transport the bodies of victims killed in the bombing of Cairo's main Coptic cathedral after the funeral, in Cairo, Egypt December 12, 2016.

In an interview with the World Watch Monitor, Rezeiky Girgis said he obtained information from the Civil Status Authority at Esna Police Station that his 18-year-old sister Hanan had been given a new Muslim identity and is being detained by national security services. His family went to the national security office in Luxor to demand for the release of Hanan, who has been missing since Jan. 26, but they were insulted and beat up by officers there.

According to Rezeiky, the national security officers denied that they had his sister or that they knew of her current location. His family and friends staged a protest outside the headquarters calling for Hanan's return, but the officers came out and assaulted them.

"They broke the leg of my 23-year-old brother and wounded my older brother, Amir, who's 28," Rezeiky told WWM. He also said that they "dragged my mother and beat my three aunts."

The Girgis family had accused their Muslim neighbor Mohamed Ahmed Nubi Soliman of abducting Hanan. Although Soliman admitted his involvement in the kidnapping, local authorities did nothing and he walked away from the police station a free man, prompting the Christian family to accuse police of "complicity and apathy."

"Because the victim is a Christian girl we see inaction. It is a farce," the Girgis family's lawyer Barsoum Wahba said, according to WWM. "We want people to deal with us as human beings and not deal with us as second-class citizens. We feel we have no rights."

Meanwhile, Amnesty International has accused the Egyptian government of failing to protect its Christian citizens in the wake of a deadly string of attacks by Islamic State affiliates targeting Copts in North Sinai. The international organization also called on authorities to provide accommodation and other services to the hundreds of believers who fled their homes after the attacks.

The incidents of kidnapping and killing of Christians in North Sinai have shot up in the last three years, according to Amnesty. The international group said authorities have failed to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice and urged Egypt to take concrete action to protect the believers targeted in such attacks.