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Egypt Islamists to stand trial over Copt attacks

02 May 2014, 09:40

Cairo - Egypt's general prosecutor on Thursday referred 102 alleged Islamists for trial over attacks on Coptic Christian churches and properties in the central province of Minya last August, judicial sources said.

The trial will take place in Minya where a judge triggered a global outcry for sentencing to death 683 alleged Islamists after a session that lasted just 10 minutes on Monday.

The 102 defendants are charged with rioting, attacking citizens and targeting the churches and homes of Copts in retaliation for the deadly dispersal of two camps of supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda squares on 14 August, the sources said.

The trial date has yet to be fixed.

Enraged by the bloody police crackdown in Cairo, mobs of alleged Islamists lashed out at Copts in the Upper Egypt province of Minya, accusing them of backing the military that ousted the elected leader.

More than 40 churches were attacked nationwide after the crackdown, with most attacks in Minya and Assiut, Human Rights Watch said at the time.

Hundreds of people were killed when the two pro-Morsi camps in the capital were stormed by police in a crackdown that deeply polarised the country.

Amnesty International says that since the army ousted Morsi on 3 July, more than 1 400 people have been killed in the crackdown on his supporters, and upward of 15 000 jailed.

Copts, who account for up to 10% of Egypt's population, have complained of systematic persecution for decades.

In a separate case, 160 other people have also been referred for trial in Minya for allegedly taking part in an unauthorised demonstration, judicial sources said.



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