Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - The young Egyptian Ahmed Said al-Sonbati, who on Thursday 13 October killed and stabbed Coptic priest Samaan Shahata in a peripheral street in Cairo, is not a person who is mentally unstable but a criminal already known to the police due to previous acts of violence. This is what Anba Stephanos, Coptic Orthodox Bishop of Beba, al Fashn and Samasta underlines, so as to reject the versions relaunched by Egyptian media that interpret the murder of the priest as a violent act committed by a mentally ill person. Such voices were actually credited by the same official sources of the Interior Ministry, which have attributed previous criminal convictions - such as attempting to set fire to his own home or physical violence committed against his own father - which would testify the state of "mental disorder".
Coptic priest Samaan Shetata, married and father of three children, belonging to a diocese of Upper Egypt, was in Cairo to raise funds in favor of the poor of his region, when he was attacked in the street by Ahmed Said al-Sonbati. After the murder, Coptic Orthodox Bishop Raphael, Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church, issued a statement in which, among other things, deplored the fact that many criminals and terrorists, authors of violence against Christians, were not affected by any form of punishment, while some were released after the arrest. This anomaly - emphasized Anba Raphael - contributes to spreading the impression that crimes against Christian citizens often remain unpunished. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 16/10/2017)