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Egyptian Christians demand harsher punishment for police convicted of murder

ICC Note

Egyptian Christians are upset with the sentencing of Egyptian policemen only to five years imprisonment for murdering a Christian man. Christians in Egypt routinely face discrimination from government officials as well as Islamic extremists.

By Ethan Cole

06/01/2009 Egypt (Christian Today)-Christians in Egypt are upset over a court ruling this past week that sentenced police officers to only five years in prison for the murder of a Coptic man when similar cases would result in life imprisonment or execution.

The family of the slain man accused the court of issuing a lenient sentence and is considering appealing the court ruling on grounds of an error in the application of the law, according to Assyrian International News Agency.

The legal team says the charge should have been classified as “deliberate and premeditated killing,” but instead the officers were indicted for “assault leading to death.”

Though Coptic Christians are the largest Christian population in the Middle East, they make up about 10 percent of Egypt ’s population and are often discriminated against socially, economically, and legally in Muslim-dominated Egypt .

Christians need to obtain a building permit to construct a church or remodel one, whereas Muslims are free to build mosques without such permission. Moreover, most to nearly all requests for such church building permits are denied.

In recent years, Muslims and Christians in Egypt have been finding themselves more isolated from and at odds with one another amid increasingly frequent reports of sectarian violence.

Last month, two Christians were shot dead by Muslim villagers in southern Egypt in what was believed to be a revenge killing, and in March, a young Christian man was set on fire and his father murdered after a rumor circulated that he had a romantic relationship with a Muslim young woman.

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