04/28/2012, 00.00
EGYPT
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Egyptian court shelves trial against 'unknown' for Maspero massacre of Copts

Judges claim "lack of identification of the culprits." In the October 9, 2011 massacre of peaceful demonstrators 27 Christians were killed and over 300 were injured. 28Copts arrested in the aftermath of the massacre and accused of involvement also acquitted. Victims’ relatives cry "farce".

Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Egyptian court has closed the trial - against "persons unknown" - for the Maspero massacre of October 9 last, which killed 27 Coptic Christians, and left over 320 were, for "lack of evidence. " The ruling came on April 24, when judges appointed by the Ministry of Justice decided to close the proceedings; explaining the verdict Sarwat Hammad claimed a "lack of identification of the culprits", who killed the army conscript Mohammad Shata and nine protesters (all Coptic Christians) with ammunition, as well as attempting to break into a government building and assaulting military personnel.

The judges have also dropped charges against 28 Copts and the Muslim activist Alaa Abdel-Fatah, arrested earlier, though in this case for lack of evidence. Many of those arrested were detained after the massacre of October 9, some of whom were not present at the time of the tragedy but were indentified and taken only because "Christians".

The paradox is that, according to the Egyptian judiciary, Christians shot and killed their brethren. The pictures released on the Internet in the aftermath of the tragedy clearly indicated the apparent involvement of the army, who opened fire on peaceful demonstrators, and even drove their vehicles into people in the square (see AsiaNews 12/10/2011  Egypt under shock by brutal anti-Coptic attack as calls for the govt to resign mount).

Commenting on the decision of the judges, the attorney Said Fayez sarcastically noted to news agency AINA: "I am happy that we were able to prove the innocence of the Coptic defendants of killing their Coptic brothers. ". He adds that the rights of victims and family members were denied by a failing court system. Even more harsh words for Vivian Magdi, girlfriend of Michael Mosad, killed during the protest by a military vehicle that hit and crushed him. "Dropping the case against an unknown is farce." She has stated from the start that the Maspero case has to be taken to an international court "because in Egypt we were unable to get justice for those who were martyred."

 

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