(Christian Freedom International) -- Egyptian authorities have deliberately starved two young children belonging to Martha Samuel, a Christian woman, because she refused to return to the Islamic faith.
Samuel, whose name had been placed on a list of people who are barred from leaving Egypt, was arrested last month with her husband and children at a Cairo airport as they tried to flee the country for Russia. According to local reports, Samuel claimed that she was fleeing relentless persecution and death threats by police and extended family members, which she and her husband had been enduring ever since she converted to Christianity five years ago. Samuel was charged with forging official documents and changing her name after converting from Islam to Christianity.
Following her arrest, Samuel was beaten, tortured, and sexually assaulted by police as a means of coercing her to denounce her faith. Her children, ages 2 and 4, were also detained by authorities and denied food in an attempt to increase the pressure on Samuels to return to Islam.
According to a report from the Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights, Coptic Christians in Egypt have been harassed, tortured and murdered by Muslims for over 1,400 years. Because the country formally recognizes Islamic Shariah law as the source of justice, Christians are routinely subjected to a variety of hate crimes. More than 5,000 Christians have been killed in Egypt in the past 10 years alone, and hundreds of Christian businesses, homes and churches have been looted, burned and destroyed.