Egypt to try U.S. couple, Egyptians over adoption

By Yasmine Saleh

February 17, 2010 / in.reuters.com

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian prosecutors on Tuesday ordered that an American couple and six Egyptians, all Christians, be tried on charges of forgery and illegal adoption, prosecution documents showed.

Although the Egyptian Coptic Christian faith allows adoption, Egyptian law prohibits it.

Egypt has a Sunni Muslim majority. Islamic law imposes restrictions on the way children can be brought into the homes of adults and the way they are named.

Christian activists complain Islamic strictures make it impossible for Christians to adopt.

The couple had travelled to Egypt from the United States to adopt a two-week-old boy, according to prosecution documents seen by Reuters. The husband, born in Egypt, has dual U.S.-Egyptian citizenship.

An employee at the U.S. embassy discovered the child's documents were fake, the papers showed. The couple were detained and the child placed in an orphanage.

Prosecutors say the couple were helped by an Egyptian priest in the United States who supervised the operation through contacts in Alexandria. A priest and hospital staff in Alexandria and the child's natural mother were among those indicted.

An Egyptian court sentenced two Egyptian-American Christian couples in September to two years in prison for illegally adopting children.

(Additional reporting by Ahmed Shalaby and Mohamed Abdellah; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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