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ICC Note: In Upper Egypt the charges against a Muslim man who gunned down a Christian have been dropped. Prosecutors determined that Hasan Baghdadi could not stand trial by reason of insanity. Human rights groups have previously explained how the excuse of mental instability has spared many killers from standing trial in Egypt. This “devil made me do it” legal strategy has been overused in the case of those who kill Christians. 

07-02-2015 Egypt (Morning Star News): Prosecutors in Upper Egypt have dropped all charges against a Muslim who, according to numerous eyewitnesses, gunned down a Christian with the aim of intimidating his family into withdrawing charges in another religiously motivated killing.

Prosecuting attorneys on June 24 found that the accused in the January shooting, Hasan Baghdadi, was incompetent to stand trial by reason of insanity and closed the case before it could be presented to a judge, according to human rights activists. Additionally, the investigation into Baghdadi’s brother, Mohammed, who was also allegedly involved in the incident, was dropped.

Sometime after the case was withdrawn, Baghdadi was sent to a psychiatric facility where he remained Wednesday (July 1), according to human rights activists.

Safwat Samaan, director of human rights group Nation Without Borders, said he doubts the validity of the incompetency finding. It is a common legal tactic in Egypt for Muslims who have killed Copts or committed other acts of violence against members of the Orthodox Christian minority to use the insanity defense to avoid trial or any kind of punishment, he said.

This “devil made me do it” legal strategy, often conducted with the complicity of the government, is a common fixture throughout the Middle East where religious minorities are often victimized by the majority, Samaan said.

“It is not the first time that a Muslim in Egypt who has attacked a Christian or a church has claimed to be mentally ill, and there seems to be an epidemic of cases in other countries as well, so it seems like ‘the devil’ is leading these people to do such things,” Samaan said.

He added that such abuse of the insanity defense has denied the victims in the January killing their right to justice.

“There is no justice in this case, and the police did not do their job by looking into all the facts and evidence,” he said.

The dismissal of the charges was a double blow to a Christian family that has lost two men to religiously motivated violence in two years.

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