Pope not summoned for testimony in alleged convert case, official says

An Egyptian court has not yet decided to summon Coptic Pope Shenouda III for testimony in the case of a Christian woman who is reportedly under church custody after converting to Islam, a judiciary official said.

The State Council's Administrative Court is considering a lawsuit that demands to know the location of Kamilia Shehata and accuses the church of hiding her after she converted.

Shehata disappeared for five days in July in the Minya governorate. Coptic activists staged protests across Egypt, accusing Muslims of kidnapping her and forcing her to convert. But she was later found at a friend's house and reportedly had left home willingly after a conflict with her husband. The Coptic Church has denied that Shehata converted to Islam at all.

Since then, protests staged by Muslims at a number of mosques have called for Shehata's release, claiming the church was holding her in a monastery against her will.

Moataz Morsy, deputy chairman of the State Council, dismissed press reports that the Pope was summoned to testify in the case. The proceedings have been postponed to 19 April.

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