Two Cases Involving Crimes Against Copts Consolidated

ICC Note: Nearly two years ago, a Muslim mob looted and torched Christian homes after rumors spread of an affair between a Christian man and Muslim woman. The mob also attacked the man’s mother, stripping her of her clothes while her home burned. Previously, the criminal court was treating these as two separate cases. However, the court has now decided to consolidate the cases in a move that the Christian lawyer believes is a positive step forward.        

04/26/2018 Egypt (Wataninet) –  The May 2016 crimes against Copts in the village of al-Karm in Minya, some 250km south of Cairo, which sent shock waves through all Egypt, have now been incorporated by Minya criminal court into a single case concerning which a ruling is expected next August.

In May 2016, a rumour had circulated in the village that the Copt Ashraf Ayad was having an illicit affair with the Muslim woman Nagwa Ragab; both in their early thirties. Even though Islam allows relations between Muslim men and non-Muslim women, reciprocal relations between non-Muslim men and Muslim women are not allowed. Ayad quickly fled the village taking with him his wife and four daughters. A Muslim mob, however, attacked his aged parents in their home, injured his father Danial Ayad, dragged out his near-70-year-old mother Suad Thabet to the street, stripped her and beat her up. The mob also attacked other Copts’ houses, burning six plus a Coptic-owned warehouse.

Twenty-five Muslim villagers were taken to court, charged with arson and terrorising civilians. Three others were charged with stripping a woman. Now Minya criminal court has decided to see both cases in one single case instead of two separate ones. Hany Magdy, a lawyer representing Ms Thabet, told Watani that incorporating the two cases into one was a reasonable move since both cases were intertwined. The move, he said, would probably work in favour of the Coptic victims.

Two weeks ago, the misdemeanours court of appeals supported an earlier ruling that sentenced Ashraf Ayad to one year in prison for having an illicit affair with Nagwa Ragab. Mr Ayad is contesting the ruling in the Court of Cassation. Ms Ragab’s husband, Nazeer Ishaq Ahmad, is the main defendant in al-Karm case.

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