View a Clip from the Film ‘Raze’
Free PR Web Directory
An Egyptian court sentence 12 Christians to life in prison and acquitted eight Muslims on Monday in a case resulting from the religious tensions in the country’s south.
The Christians were found guilty of sowing public strife, the possession of illegal weapons and killing two Muslims in April of last year in the Minya province located approximately 135 miles south of Cairo.
The religious tension in Minya turned into violence last year when a Muslim microbus driver was angered by a speed bump outside a wealthy Christina man’s villa.
The driver then got into a scuffle and was beaten by security guards.
After he returned to his village of Abu Qurqas later that evening, the driver rounded up villagers who gather outside an Islamist group’s main office in protest of his beating.
Christians nearby thought that they were going to be attacked and shot from their rooftops at the protestors, killing two and injuring two others.
For several days following, dozens Christian houses and shops were torched.
The eight Muslims whom are also on trial are being charged with possession of illegal weapons and the burning of the Christian homes and stores after the shootings.
“The fact that the Muslims were acquitted means that the attorney general’s investigation from the beginning was faulty and unfair because there was evidence to prove these men had burned Christian property,” said Rights researcher Ishak Ibrahim.
The state Security Court’s rulings cannot be appealed and handed down its sentence on Monday.
The ruling military council is the only power that has the ability to request a retrial.
Christians, who make up approximately 10 percent of Egypt’s estimated 80 million people, complain that the courts as well as the police turn a blind eye to the discrimination and violence against them.
Some fear that the surge of ultraconservative Islamists to power after Hosni Mubarak’s over throw last year could result in further curtailing of their rights.