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Cablegate: Ambassador Raises Religious Freedom Cases with Fm

VZCZCXYZ0035
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHEG #3398 3381532
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 041532Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7627
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS CAIRO 003398

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

NSC STAFF FOR PASCUAL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KIRF PHUM PGOV PREL EG
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR RAISES RELIGIOUS FREEDOM CASES WITH FM
ABOUL GHEIT

REF: A. CAIRO 3351

B. CAIRO 3256
C. CAIRO 3334

Sensitive but unclassified. Please protect accordingly.

1. (SBU) Among the issues the Ambassador raised in a December
3 meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit
(see septel) were two recent religious freedom cases: the
November 10 arrest of three members of the Middle East
Christians Association (MECA) (refs A and B); and the fraud
conviction of Shadia Nagui Ibrahim (ref C). Aboul Gheit said
he was not familiar with either case, but his Chief of
Cabinet, Deputy Foreign Minister Wafaa Bassim, who also
attended the meeting, was. On the MECA case, she said that
because the case is in the hands of the judiciary, the GoE
could not intervene. On the Shadia Ibrahim case, Bassim said
that she understood the case to be about fraud, not religious
identity or discrimination. Aboul Gheit asked that we work
with his staff to follow-up.

2. (SBU) Following the Ambassador's meeting with Aboul Gheit,
we contacted the MFA's Deputy Assistant Minister for Human
Rights Wael Aboulmaged. He told us that after the
Ambassador's meeting with the Foreign Minister, he received
two telephone calls about the cases from the Foreign
Minister's office. He said he was making all appropriate
inquiries but had not yet received the information he had
requested. We will continue to follow-up and report
developments in both cases.
RICCIARDONE

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