Egyptian police over the weekend detained three members of a Christian rights group who were reportedly investigating the death of a Christian man allegedly killed by Egyptian police.
Pre-dawn raids in two Cairo homes captured Wagih Yakob, 45, spokesman and lawyer of the Middle East Christian Association (MECA), and another member of the rights group, reported the groups president Nader Fawzy from MECAs Toronto headquarters, according to Reuters.
Later that same day, Mamdouh Azmy, another lawyer for the group, was detained from his office in Alexandria.
They havent done anything at all, Fawzy told Reuters. The government is trying to stop us from working in Egypt.
The U.S. Copts Association said the recent arrest was likely caused by the mens investigation into reports that a Coptic worker in Cairo was thrown from his balcony by two Egyptian police after he refused to pay them extortion money, according to WorldNetDaily.
The associations report said soon after the Coptic workers fall, the Egyptian police had reported the death as suicide.
Days before Sundays arrest, two of mens colleagues were released after completing a 90-day detention. The organizations president in Egypt, Adel Fawzy Faltas, 61, and MECA member Peter Ezzat, 25, had been accused of insulting Islam, destroying Egypts reputation, owning a gun without a license and being a threat to national security during their three-month interrogation, according to the Compass Direct news agency. They were released, however, without charge.
Two of the three arrested activists have been issued 15-day detentions, Compass reported.
Egypts population of 80 million is about 90 percent Muslim and only about 10 percent Christian. Although the percentage of Christians in Egypt is small, it represents the largest Christian population in the Middle East.
The Middle East Christian Associations mission statement calls for secularism, equality with full citizenship for Christians living in the Middle East.