Libyan Embassy in Cairo Reopens Following Death of Coptic Prisoner

The Libyan embassy located in Cairo, Egypt, has re-opened days after protests over the death of an Egyptian Christian in a Libyan prison rocked the country's capitol.

The embassy originally announced its plans to temporarily close on Saturday, citing safety reasons. 

 "The embassy suspended all its consular and citizen services because [our] Coptic brothers demonstrated," embassy media adviser Abdul Hamid al-Safi told Reuters.

The embassy closed after protesters rallied in front of the consulate last week, reportedly burning Libyan flags in protest of the death of Ezzat Atallah, an Egyptian Christian accused of proselytizing in the Muslim-majority country and who died in Libyan jail.

Although the Egyptian government asserted that Atallah died in prison due to natural causes, as he reportedly suffered from diabetes and heart ailments, the victim's family told The Associated Press that they believe Atallah was tortured to death.

Additionally, other Egyptians detainees released from Libyan prison claim that they and Atallah were all tortured by guards.

Specifically, two Christian detainees told The Associated Press that they were tortured by the country's militia, which has ruled the country since the 2011 ousting of Muammar Gaddafi, in a detention center in eastern Libya.

The embassy's decision to re-open its doors comes one day after Coptic Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria met with Ashour Hamid bin Rashid, the Libyan ambassador in Cairo, to discuss the issues facing Copts in Libya.

Additionally, Pope Tawadros reportedly met with Coptic youth activist groups last week to discuss how those dissatisfied with Libya's treatment of Copts can protest in a peaceful manner.

"If you choose the route of struggle, then it has to be peaceful," the Coptic Pope reportedly told a group of Coptic youth activists on Friday, asserting that protests such as the one which took place last week in front of the Libyan embassy can have dangerous consequences.

AP reports that the mistreatment of Egyptian Copts in Libya has been a longstanding issue. Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians reportedly work construction and trade jobs in Libya, and those belonging to the Christian faith are often persecuted and detained in the predominantly Muslim nation.

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