Benghazi (AsiaNews) -
An Egyptian Evangelical Christian died after spending ten days in a Benghazi jail.
Ezzat Hakim Attalah (pictured), a 45-year-old
father of two, was arrested on 28 February along with five fellow Evangelicals
on charges of proselytising, Middle East Christian News Agency (MCN-Direct) reported.
Ministry sources said that Attalah, who suffered from diabetes and heart
ailments, died of natural causes. Speaking to MCN-Direct, Attalah's wife Ragaa Abdullah Guirguis said that he
died because of the pressures and torture by Libyan prison guards. She said
that she would seek the help of international lawyers to establish the real
cause of his death.
The case of the Egyptian
Evangelical Christian in Libya is symptomatic of the tragic fate of Christians
in Libya, victims of Salafist groups that control the country's Cyrenaica
Last week, extremists
imprisoned more than 50 Coptic pedlars for allegedly showing icons and other religious
material on their stalls.
Reports about the event
went viral worldwide when Libyan activists posted a video about the incident,
which Libyan police eventually seized.
Once they arrived home,
the Coptic pedlars complained of beatings and torture at the hands of Muslim
extremists who used acid to remove traditional Coptic tattoos representing
crosses and other Christian symbols from their hands, chest and forehead.
Since Gaddafi's fall,
the number of attacks against foreign residents has increased, mostly against Egyptians,
especially Catholic and Orthodox Copts.
Last month, four foreigners from Egypt, South Africa, South Korea and a
Swede with a US passport were arrested for allegedly circulating Bibles and
other religious material. They are currently in a Tripoli jail waiting for
orders have also been targeted by Muslim groups despite operating in the
country for decades in hospitals and nursing homes.
In January, Islamists
forced the Franciscan Sisters of the Infant Jesus to leave the city of Barca. The
same thing happened to the Ursuline Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the
city of Bayda.
In October, the Sisters of the Convent
of the Sacred Family of Spoleto were forced out of Derna even though local
residents wanted them to stay. (S.C.)