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Egypt Sentences Muslim to Death in Killings of Christians

ICC Note:

An Egyptian court sentenced a Muslim man with the death penalty on Sunday for killing six Christians and a Muslim security guard in Naga Hammadi in January 2010. Coptic Christians have waited more than a year for the verdict.

By Mona El-Naggar 

1/16/2011 Egypt (New York Times) – An Egyptian court sentenced a Muslim man to death Sunday for killing six Christians and a Muslim police guard outside a church in a drive-by shooting more than a year ago.

The ruling comes at a time of growing fear and fury among Egypt’s minority Coptic Christian population after the recent bombing outside a church in Alexandria, during New Year’s Eve Mass, that killed 22 people and wounded more than 90.

The bombing sent thousands of angry Copts rioting in the streets and criticizing the government as failing to protect them or to hold anyone accountable for the crimes against them, including the shooting, which took place in the town of Nag Hammadi.

On Sunday, an Egyptian state security court, amid heavy protection, convicted Mohamed Ahmed Hassanein, more commonly known as Hamam el-Kamouny, 39, for the “premeditated murder” of the seven people who were killed during the shooting last January, as well as for the “attempted murder” of nine others who were wounded.

It is not clear to what extent Sunday’s verdict, which cannot be appealed, will help placate Egypt’s Coptic community. Just last Tuesday a Muslim off-duty police officer boarded a train and shot dead a 71-year-old Christian man while wounding five others. Egyptian officials said the shooting was not religiously motivated, but did not provide an alternative explanation.

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