AFRICA/EGYPT – Justice Ministers promises “solution” for Coptic students punished for offending Islam
Minya (Agenzia Fides) – Egypt’s minister of justice will examine with care the judicial situation of some Copt students sentenced to five years in prison for offending Islam, find a solution to the case and avoid ruining the boys’ lives, but without adopting measures that could re-ignite sectarian tension in the area of Minya. This was affirmed by the Minister of Justice, Ahmed al-Zind, known for his hostility towards Islamist groups. In recent days – according to the Copts United website – members of parliament met with the Minister asking him to allow the boys to at least finish their studies, so as not to jeopardise their future .
The event brought to the attention of the Minster involved Copt students accused of offending the Islamic religion by publishing in the Spring of 2015 a video-clip lasting a few seconds in which the boys mimed a throat slitting scene of a Muslim in prayer imitating the horrendous executions by Islamic State (Daesh). Jihadists. At the end of February the Egyptian Court in Minya passed a heavy sentence against the boys: three were given five years in prison and the fourth, not yet eighteen, will go to a guarded residence for minor offenders . In the meantime a Copt association (see Fides 1/3/2016) has already appealed to Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al Sisi asking him to intervene in the case and grant amnesty to the condemned adolescents . (GV) (Agenzia Fides 8/3/2016).