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Released Aug 30, 2011 | WikiLeaks | Edited by Crethi Plethi

Iris Botrous, center, Luis Andraws, left, and Suzan Hagoulf, right. (Credit: Ben Curtis / AP)

Two American couples were sentenced to two years in prison and fined 100,000 Egyptian pounds ($18,200) per person after being convicted of illegal adoption by Cairo’s criminal court in Egypt, Sept 18, 2009.

Iris Botrous and Luis Andraws, and Suzan Hagoulf and spouse Medhat Metyas were arrested in December after the U.S. embassy in Cairo grew suspicious of their children’s birth certificates. The Christian couples were attempting to obtain American passports for babies they bought from an Egyptian orphanage, which is affiliated with the Coptic Christian church.

Adoption is prohibited by the Islamic Sharia law upon which much of Egypt’s civil and criminal laws are based. Judicial authorities permit adoption in certain instances, providing the adopting couple is Egyptian and children don’t take their surnames. Adopted minors are also not allowed to leave the country.

The defendants’ lawyers argued that their clients should not be considered criminals, even under Egyptian law, which generally allows Christians to follow the rules of their faith on issues of personal status, such as marriage and divorce and family matters […]

Read full article here [LATimes]. Text by Amro Hassan in Cairo.

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Source: WikiLeaks

Reference Created Classification Origin
09CAIRO1828 2009-09-23 11:51 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Cairo

VZCZCXRO2280
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #1828/01 2661151
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 231151Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3673
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEAHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RUCNFB/FBI WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 001828

DEPT FOR CA/FPP, CA/EX, CA/OCS, DS/CR/OCI
ALSO FOR G/TIP, INL, DRL, PRM, NEA/RA, NEA/ELA, NEA/PPD

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

POSTS FOR FRAUD PREVENTION UNITS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KFRDCVISCMGTCASCKOCIASECPHUMSMIGEG
SUBJECT: FPU REVIEW OF DIVERSITY VISA CASES REVEALS ANOTHER
POTENTIAL AVENUE FOR BABY SMUGGLING NETWORK

REFS: (A) 08 CAIRO 2483 (B) 08 CAIRO 2562 (C) CAIRO 207
(D) CAIRO 600 (E) CAIRO 1054

¶1. (SBU) Summary: The Cairo Fraud Prevention Unit (FPU) reviewed
Diversity Visas (DVs) issued by post to identify additional cases of
the baby trafficking network described in reftels. A number of
cases were found that raised the possibility that some DV lottery
winners applied with newborns that were not their biological
children. The FPU review of the cases also highlighted the sharp
spike in DVs issued from FY04 to FY05, attributed mostly to the
outreach and organizational efforts of the Coptic Church. End
Summary.

Fraud Profile and Pattern
————————-

¶2. (SBU) The profile developed in the reftels with regards to the
baby smuggling network showed that the smugglers had been utilizing
all available avenues to move the babies to the United States. 28
cases in both the American Citizen Services (ACS) and Nonimmigrant
Visa (NIV) units have been confirmed where babies and young children
have been successfully smuggled to the United States. The pattern
pointed to the possibility that the Immigrant Visa unit had also
been a means by which to smuggle newborns and children.

CCD Adhoc Assistance
——————–

¶3. (SBU) The Fraud Prevention Manager (FPM) requested the assistance
of the CCD Adhoc team in creating a report that focused on all DVs
issued with at least one family member being 0-2 years old at the
time of the application. In addition, the report needed to cover
the timeframe 2004-2008 broken down by fiscal year with only
applicants born in Egypt. The resulting list of 1081 cases was then
reviewed by the FPU for names of Coptic Christians in accordance
with the profile developed in reftels. With a final list of 938
cases, FPU analyzed each case individually to identify those that
had a high probability of newborns who might not be the biological
children of the DV parents.

The Results
———–

¶4. (SBU) The 938 cases contained 213 cases of twins, one of the
common fraud indicators developed for this baby smuggling profile.
In some of these cases the age difference between the twins and the
last sibling was almost ten years. In addition, of the 938 cases,
647 cases had children who were born after the family was notified
they had won the DV lottery. In many of these cases the parents
were in their 40’s and already had two or three children between the
ages of 6-12 years old. In all of the cases where fraud was
suspected, the DV parents seemed to have “tagged on” a set of twins
or a single newborn to their already existing family unit. The FPU
continues to search for a reliable means by which to confirm fraud
in these cases.

Other Eyebrow Raisers
———————

¶5. (SBU) A review of the number of DVs issued at post from FY04 to
FY05 shows a sharp increase in cases from 1,760 to 3,570. The number
of DVs issued for each consecutive year then remains constant with
3,624 for FY-06, 3,554 for FY-07 and 3,557 for FY-08. In addition,
the percentage of Coptic Christians being issued DVs for each of
those years also remains constant at about 91 percent. Interviews
with DV applicants have highlighted the important role the Coptic
Church has played in not only informing its members about the DV
lottery, but helping them apply as well. Given that the FPU has
confirmed the active role of Coptic priests and nuns in smuggling
infants and children to the United States through ACS and NIV, post
believes that the DV lottery may have also been utilized as a means
for funneling children to the United States.

Comment
——–

¶6. (SBU) On September 17, 2009, an Egyptian judge sentenced eleven
members of the baby smuggling network to 2-5 years in jail. The
verdict capped a year-long investigation by the FPU and the Egyptian
authorities reported in reftels. However, as the FPU focuses on
other aspects of the network such as the DV lottery, there may be
future opportunities for more cooperation with the Egyptian
authorities on this issue. In addition, the FPU hosted on July 6, a

CAIRO 00001828 002 OF 002

visiting team from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) who
arrived in Cairo specifically to begin an investigation of the baby
smuggling network with regards to Canada. Further close cooperation
with the RCMP will be important in identifying cases that may have
used Canada as a means to enter the United States.

SCOBEY


Source: WikiLeaks

Reference Created Classification Origin
10CAIRO344 2010-02-22 11:43 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Cairo

VZCZCXRO9568
RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #0344/01 0531146
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 221143Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0349
INFO ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 000344

SIPDIS
POSTS FOR FRAUD PREVENTION UNITS
DEPT FOR CA/FPP, CA/EX, CA/OCS, DS/CR/OCI
ALSO FOR G/TIP, INL, DRL, PRM, NEA/RA, NEA/ELA, NEA/PPD
DS/IP/NEA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CMGT CASC KOCI ASEC PHUM SMIG KFRD CVIS EG
SUBJECT: ILLEGAL ADOPTIONS IN EGYPT

REF: CAIRO 0092 AND PREVIOUS

¶1. (SBU) Summary: For the past 16 months, the Fraud Prevention
Unit (FPU) has been investigating cases of illegal adoptions in
Egypt (see ref). Coptic priests, nuns and doctors remain key
players in the illegal adoptions. Cases of illegal adoptions
continue with the most recent announcement by Egyptian prosecutors
on February 16 of the trial of an American couple and six Egyptians
in Alexandria. In 2009, an Egyptian court in Cairo sentenced eleven
individuals, including four Americans and a Coptic nun to two to
five years in prison for baby trafficking. End Summary.

“Rogue” Priests
—————-

¶2. (SBU) The FPU has confirmed 31 cases where children have been
illegally adopted in Egypt and either taken to the United States or
raised in Egypt. The earliest confirmed case by the FPU is from
1989, although one Coptic priest admitted the practice has been
going on since 1976. This particular priest also provided other
insights during an interview with the Fraud Prevention Manager
(FPM) on February 11, 2010. He stated that the majority of the
priests involved in illegal adoptions are very charismatic, have
numerous followers and are consumed with their position of power as
leaders of the Coptic community. According to this priest, the
“big” personalities of these individuals have prompted them to
engage in activities not condoned by many others in the Coptic
Church. He mentioned that the Church is more than capable of
raising and educating unwanted Coptic children. He added that in
Alexandria, literally hundreds of babies are given to childless
families and only a few have been taken out of Egypt.

Unscrupulous Doctors
——————–

¶3. (SBU) The cases of illegal adoptions generally involve doctors
falsely attesting to the delivery of the newborn for the alleged
biological parents. The letter from the doctor is used to acquire
a genuine Egyptian birth certificate and sometimes a passport. The
FPU confirmed that in many instances the doctors receive payment in
return for their false statements and/or procurement of newborns.
The FPU linked one doctor to cases as far back as 1995 and as
recent as 2008. The doctor’s fees ranged from USD 100 for a newborn
to USD 5000 for personal delivery of a newborn to the United States
(see 09 Cairo 207 and previous). FPU cooperation with Egyptian
State Security Investigative Services (SSIS) led to the arrest of
this doctor in May 2009.

Americans to Stand Trial Again
——————————

¶4. (SBU) On February 16, Egyptian prosecutors charged two Americans
and six Egyptians with forgery, illegal adoption and baby
trafficking. Another American in the United States was also
identified and charged in absentia. Egypt’s Prosecutor General
identified the Egyptians as two priests, two doctors, a civil
servant and an engineer. All, but two of these individuals are
currently fugitives. In September of 2009, an Egyptian court
sentenced four Americans and seven Egyptians to two to five years
in prison for baby trafficking and forgery.

Comment
——-

CAIRO 00000344 002 OF 002

¶5. (SBU) Most of the illegal adoptions confirmed by the FPU have
involved childless couples desperate for children. However, in
some cases the FPU is unable to trace the whereabouts of the child.
Confirmed cases of unscrupulous doctors raises concern for the
newborns involved in such illegal adoptions. Post is proposing
stronger language for the Country Specific Information for Egypt
warning against attempting to illegally adopt in Egypt.

Scobey
SCOBEY


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