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ICC NOTE: As we mourn the loss of the 21 Coptic Christians on the one year anniversary of their beheading’s, there are those who wish to learn of the fate of eight other Coptic Christians who were not among them. According to reports, eight Egyptian Coptic Christians were kidnapped on their way back to Egypt from their place of employment in Libya. The 21 martyred last year were taken in similar fashion, but eight have not been located. ECRF has worked diligently to advocate for their swift return requesting the Egyptian parliament to take necessary actions to disclose the fate of these men. If anything it would provide closure for the families who do not know what happened to their loved ones. Please continue to pray for the families of the 21 and also for the families of these eight souls. 

2/25/2015 Libya (Coptic Solidarity) – On the anniversary of the killing of 20 Egyptian Coptic Christians at the hands of the Islamic State in Libya, the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) called attention to the fact that the fate of eight Egyptians workers, including seven Christians, has been unknown since August 2014.

ECRF called on the Egyptian parliament to take all necessary actions to disclose the fate of the victims who were kidnapped. Egyptian authorities have failed to reach any information about them for more than 17 months.

ECRF sent letters to the Egyptian president on February 16, 2015 with regard to eight workers from Assiut, Alexandria and Sohag who were abducted in Libya. This took place after the killing of 20 Coptic workers at the hands of the Islamic State’s militants last year. ECF called for taking the necessary steps to gain access to accurate information about their fate and identify their situation and the places of their detention.

ECRF provided the information it had collected at the time in the letters and held a number of interviews later with the families of the victims and officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide them with updated information.

The Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms reiterated its calls on the Egyptian authorities, the parliament speaker, the presidency and the intelligence services to make real efforts to reach the fate of the victims and to try to bring them back to their home safely. It emphasized the need to move quickly to avoid the tragedy of the killing of 20 Egyptian workers in February.

ECRF also demanded the Ministry of Social Solidarity take the necessary action to include the families of the victims in social pensions, and stressed that it is necessary that the state contributes to these families’ burden of living, which basically urged their loved ones to look for jobs in Libya and endangered their lives.

On August 24, 2014, four Christians, Gamal Matta Hakim, Raafat Matta Hakim, Romani Matta Hakim and Adel Sedky Hakim, were kidnapped while they were trying to return to Egypt through the Egyptian-Libyan border by road. They were stopped at a checkpoint in Sirte, Libya, after they left Libyan capital, Tripoli, on their way to the Salloum land crossing.

ECRF documented the testimony of their Muslim colleague who managed to escape after the kidnappers verified his religion. He returned to Egypt and testified that a group of militants stopped them and asked them about their religion and then took them to an unknown location when they made sure they were Christians. This was followed by the incident of kidnapping a person named Mina Shehata Awad on August 26, 2014, in the same way.

On September 15, 2014, two more Egyptian workers, Shenouda Sami Adly and Abdel Fattah Abdel Gawad Beheiri, disappeared in the Libyan city of Misurata after they left the place of their work at about 4 p.m. in a car. They disappeared with the car and no one has identified their location.

In July 2015, accounts related to the Islamic State in Libya on social networking sites announced that a Coptic worker from Sohag named Bakhit Nageh was captured. No information about his fate has been provided so far.

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