23 May 2017
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  • » 03/11/2013, 00.00

    LIBYA - EGYPT

    Egyptian Christian dies in Benghazi whilst in custody of Muslim extremists



    The cause of death of Evangelical Christian Ezzat Hakim Attalah remains unclear. The 45-year-old man was arrested on 28 February along with five other Egyptians on charges of distributing religious material. More than 50 Egyptian Copts arrive home after weeks in Salafist hands. They complain about harassment and torture.

    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.

    Egyptian Foreign 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 region.

    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 trial.

    Catholic religious 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.)

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    See also

    06/03/2013 LIBYA
    For Tripoli Catholics, anti-Christian attacks due to climate of impunity and violence
    Local sources tell AsiaNews that the attack on Fr Helmi, a Egyptian priest in Tripoli, is unconnected to Muslim extremism. Islamists are not currently carrying out a plan to expel Christians from the country.

    06/05/2011 LIBYA - VATICAN
    War against Libya a reckless outrage
    The Bishop of Tripoli’s appeals for a truce and dialogue go unheeded. The West does not understand Libya, its tribal issues, the positive development of the country, stopping the fundamentalists. And there's room for Christian witness. Who really has interests at stake in this war?

    26/01/2012 LIBYA
    Libyan militias involved in bloody clashes as 8,500 remain in ‘secret’ prisons
    A weak and absent government is unable to collect weapons from armed groups involved in settling scores or asserting their control over territory. UN envoy does not exclude an escalation in domestic strife.

    01/06/2011 LIBYA
    Bishop of Tripoli: NATO bombs a Coptic church. Civilian Casualties.
    Last night the bombs damaged a Coptic church located near a military barracks. Migrant Filipino Catholics witness charity among the Libyan people affected by war.

    23/12/2011 LIBYA
    Msgr Martinelli: Christmas, a sign of peace in a Libya still at war
    The Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli states that revenge attacks are still in act in the country between rebels and loyalists to the Gaddafi family. For security reasons, Christmas celebrations will be held in the late afternoon. The visit to the Filipino Catholics of Misurata, the only foreigners in Libya for the entire period of the war.



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