Judge orders runaway convert back to Ohio

The Columbus Dispatch/October 13, 2009

A Florida judge has ordered Rifqa Bary back to Ohio.

Bary is the teenager who ran away from Ohio to Florida because she feared physical harm for converting from Islam to Christianity.

Orange County, Fla., Circuit Judge Daniel Dawson said today that Bary, 17, who has been staying in Orlando, should return to her family, who live outside Columbus. Franklin County Children Services has accepted the case and has a foster family for Bary.

Bary has been in foster care in Florida while her case was being reviewed. The judge says he will turn over the case to an Ohio court in the next few weeks, but no order has been signed yet. There are conditions. Dawson said Bary's online schooling must continue and that her parents must provide Bary's immigration documents to the Florida court.

Bary ran away from her parents' home in July, saying she feared being killed for changing religions. But a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation found no credible threats to Bary.

Dawson said he expects Bary to return to Ohio by Oct. 27.

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