Egypt: Charges dropped against mobsters who attacked a Christian woman

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Egypt drops charges against mobsters who had attacked a Christian woman. The case was quashed against members of a mob who had stripped an elderly Christian woman naked in public. Prosecutors threw out the case after recent case hearing. The prosecutors claimed that there was lack of sufficient evidence against the mobsters.

Christian persecution in Egypt

The mobsters had reportedly stripped the elderly Christian woman naked and paraded her through the streets, her lawyer revealed. The violence was triggered by rumors that the 70-year-old woman’s son had an affair with a Muslim woman. The incident took place in Egypt’s Minya Province in May last year.

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Reports say that the prosecutors argued saying there was lack of substantial lack of evidence against the alleged perpetrators. The victim, Souad Thabet, told an international Christian TV station that she and her family are still feeling uncertain if they could return home. She said that she and her family face threats from religious fanatics of the village. She revealed that she was pressurized to settle the matter with the perpetrators outside the court.

“It’s a calamity,” she said while commenting about the decision of the case. “The preliminary investigation heard testimonies supporting her account from family members and policemen at the scene.”

When the attack unfolded; Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi announced that the culprits will be held accountable. He had directed the military to restore property damaged to the victims, in one month’s time. In a statement, he had praised the role of “glorious Egyptian women” and said “the rights and the protection of their dignity are a humanitarian and patriotic commitment before being a legal and constitutional one.”

“Despite President al-Sisi urging religious tolerance and moderation in several public statements during the year, including in a January 2015 speech at Al Azhar University, the government’s efforts to combat extremism and terrorism have had a chilling impact on civil society activities in the country. Among the consequences have been severe limits on dissent and criticism of the government, resulting in a poor human rights situation overall, including for freedom of religion or belief.

Conditions for Coptic Orthodox Christians remained precarious, as most perpetrators of attacks in recent years have not been convicted, including from large scale incidents that occurred between 2011 and 2013. Small communities of Baha’is and Jehovah’s Witnesses remain banned and anti-Semitism persists in state-controlled and semi-official media,” stated United States Commission for International Religious Freedom report.