Cairo, Egypt (AHN) - Two American women are in jail in Egypt after being charged with human trafficking because they used spurious birth certificates of Egyptian children they adopted in applying for their U.S. visas.
Suzanne Hagelof, who lives in Egypt with her husband, and Iris Botros, a former citizen of Egypt and now a resident of North Carolina, are detained in the overcrowded Tora prison in Cairo and will be tried starting May 16. Both are facing 10 years in prison if convicted of human trafficking.
Six other people, including two doctors and a nun who ran a local orphanage, are being tried together with the two Americans for forging documents to illegally adopt Egyptian children and smuggled them out of the country.
All the accused were led to a local court Saturday in handcuffs and placed inside a cage in the courtroom. Hagelof and Botros' husbands were present in the trial.
Hagelof adopted a child from an orphanage run by a Coptic Christian Church last year. Botros adopted twins from another orphanage run by the same religious organization seven months later and donated $4,600 to the church.
Both planned to take their adoptive children to the U.S. However, staff in the U.S. embassy in Cairo alerted local authorities because the adoptive parents presented fake birth certificates of the children in getting visas for the latter.