Thursday, April 22, 2010

Scandal" in Egyptian Court to Acquit Suspects of Christian Murders

Written by International Christian Concern
Third time trial of Naga Hammadi Murderers has been Postponed

Washington, D.C. (April 19, 2010) International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the trial of Mohammed al-Kammuni, the primary suspect charged with killing six Christians in Upper Egypt, has been adjourned for the third consecutive time without any reason being issued. The trial is scheduled to convene on May 16.

Mohammed al-Kammuni is considered the mastermind behind the murder of six Christians and a police officer on January 6, 2010 when Coptic Christians were exiting Christmas Eve mass in Naga Hammadi. He and two other defendants pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and threatening national security.

Although angry over the postponement, the decision comes as no surprise to Christians who have witnessed case after case of Muslim attacks against Christians either declared not guilty or given a light sentence.

Dr. Awad Shafik, an international Coptic lawyer and the President of the European Coptic Organization in Switzerland, was furious. “If we cannot get our rights in the Egyptian courts, there is no other solution than to take it to the international criminal court. What is going on is a scandal. The defense attorney for Mohammed al-Kammuni and the judge are conspiring together. The judge must step down! He is not capable of handling this case.”

Wagih Yacoub, a Coptic human rights activist, told ICC, “After three months, the Egyptian court continues to postpone the trial until the Copts forget about it and the murderers are able to walk out free, or take a light judgment. This is identical to the case of El-Kush ten years ago, when 21 Christians were slaughtered, and all of the killers got out innocent and free. The blood of victims are screaming to get their rights.”

Aidan Clay, ICC Regional Manager of the Middle East, said, “This is a slap in the face to the families of the victims and to all Egyptian Christian. These delaying tactics by the presiding judge are a blatant reminder that the Egyptian government will make every effort possible to cover-up or indirectly defend Muslim attackers of Christians. ICC stands with the Egyptian Coptic community by calling for Mahmoud El Hosseiny, the presiding judge, to step down, and for the court to designate a judge who is impartial and unbiased. We ask that the voice of Christians be heard and considered equally to those of Muslims, and for justice to prevail.”

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