Cairo court postpones verdict in two Bahai cases By Alexandra Sandels First Published: January 22, 2008 - Daily News - Egypt
CAIRO: A Cairo Administrative Court adjourned on Tuesday once again its decision in two highly publicized legal suits. The court will reportedly deliver the verdicts next Tuesday, Jan. 29.
The first case, commonly referred to as the Bahai trial, concerns Egyptian Baha'is who are demanding the right to obtain official documents, such as national identity cards and birth certificates, without affiliating themselves to a religion different than their own.
The case has been ongoing for years and the verdict has been delayed at least five times.
“We were not given any reason for postponing the decision. The court, however, announced that the verdicts will be given Jan. 29, so we should know next week,” Hossam Baghat of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights told Daily News Egypt.
The Bahai trial is comprised of two separate cases involving Egyptian Bahais. The first suit concerns 14-year-old twins Emad and Nancy Raouf Hindi, who have been unable to obtain birth certificates due to their faith.
Their father Raouf Hindi has sent the twins to attend school in Libya since he cannot obtain government documents for them, which means they cannot be enrolled in Egyptian schools.
The second lawsuit involves Hosni Hussein Abdel-Massih, a Bahai student who has been ordered to leave his university studies because he cannot obtain a national ID card.
In order to obtain any kind of official documents in Egypt — including birth certificates, identity cards and marriage licenses — one must state their religious affiliation.
Currently the civil registry only recognizes Islam, Christianity, and Judaism as valid affiliations on official documents. Passports are the only exception, and do not require citizens to include their faith.
Hindi and Abdel-Massih are asking to leave a blank space or put a dash on the religion entry in official documents.
“The legal clerk himself referred to the case as the Bahais suit today, instead of calling out its number in court,” said Bahai activist Shady Samir who attended the session.
“He realizes that it is no longer a one-man case. I think the decision will come next time because the court only postponed it for a week this time,” he said.