An Egyptian court has handed out life in prison sentences to 71 people for burning a Christian church in in the Giza province village of Kafr Hakim in 2013.
CNN reported that the people were part of a mob that chanted for Egypt to become an "Islamic State" as they torched and looted The Virgin Mary Church in 2013, following anti-government unrest. Christians were heavily targeted in Egypt following the fall of former President Mohammed Morsi, which later led to the Muslim Brotherhood being outlawed.
Reports said that 52 out of the 73 defendants were tried in absentia, with 21 already in prison. Two minors were additionally given 10 years in prison and fined the equivalent of $1,300. more >>
Former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who was also a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, has been sentenced on Tuesday to 20 years in prison for unlawful arrests and torture carried out during his time in power.
Morsi served as his country's first freely elected president between June 2012 and July 2013, before he was forcefully removed from power following heavy nationwide protests. He was chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood — an organization which has since been declared illegal and forced to go underground.
A group of armed Muslim fanatics, who some have identified as Muslim Brotherhood members, attacked a church over plans to honor the 21 Coptic Christians beheaded by terror group ISIS in the Egyptian village of Al-Our. The church's priest said that he made local police aware of plans for the attack, but the authorities offered no protection.
Fr. Makar Issa, the priest of The Virgin Mary Church in Al-Our village, told International Christian Concern: "I called the police many times and asked them to come to guard us but they came late and after their arrival they didn't guard the church. They stopped in the entrance of the village. Even still they allowed the cars of the attackers to enter the village and attack us and the church without any intervention from them to protect us," the priest said.
"I charge the responsibility of what happened to the policemen," he added, "and I accuse them of inaction, indifference and complicity." more >>
The government of Egypt has warned ISIS that it will not allow the terror group to "cut off the heads of our children" in response to the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has called on the Union Nations to authorize a resolution to allow military aid for Libya in the battle against ISIS.
"We will not allow them to cut off the heads of our children," Sisi declared in a radio speech, according to BBC News.
Libya is caught in widespread turmoil with rival militant groups battling for control, while the internationally recognized government has been forced to abandon the capital of Tripoli and move to Tobruk. more >>
Egypt has handed down death sentences to 183 people involved in the murder of 11 policemen and two civilians during the August 2013 mass protests. Human rights groups have pointed out, however, that the court has failed to hold a single police officer accountable for the deadly clashes.
"Today's death sentences are yet another example of the bias of the Egyptian criminal justice system," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui of Amnesty International. "These verdicts and sentences must be quashed and all of those convicted should be given a trial that meets international standards of fairness and excludes the death penalty."
"Issuing mass death sentences whenever the case involves the killing of police officers now appears to be near-routine policy, regardless of facts and with no attempt to establish individual responsibility," Sahraoui added. more >>
The Egyptian wing of terror group ISIS has left 30 security personnel dead in a series of bombings in the Sinai Peninsula, the deadliest such attack on the country in years. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has decided to cut short a trip to Ethiopia for the African Union summit on Friday following the killings.
The terror group bombed a military hotel and base in the provincial capital al-Arish, Reuters reported. Officials said that terrorists first fired rockets at police offices, before a car bomb exploded at the rear gate of the military base.
While officials placed the death toll to 30 as of Friday morning, they said there were at least five men in critical condition. More than 50 others were wounded. more >>