Monday, August 3, 2009

Egyptian Christian Father Demands Justice for His Murdered Son

(AINA) -- Malak Adel Fawzy, a 19 year old Egyptian Coptic man, was murdered on 4/9/2009 in a savage attack. The tragedy took place in Tanta, 94 km north of Cairo, when Amir Aziz, a friend of Malak Fawzy, had a quarrel with Motaz-Bellah El-Hefny; the quarrel was stopped by bystanders. Motaz later phoned a few friends, two of whom are registered with the police for violent behavior, to join him near a coffee house where Amir Malak, were. The defendants lurked in an alley and saw Malak leaving the coffee house, who upon seeing them tried to run away.
The prosecution report said that "The victim was assaulted by the defendants willfully, deliberately, with premeditation and malice aforethought. They went to the place where he would be present. Defendant Ashraf Shubaki prepared for this purpose a tool (brass knuckles); when they caught him, defendant Motaz intercepted him and Shubaki hit him on his head with the brass knuckle. He fell to the ground, after which, incited by Motaz, they all kicked him with their feet as pre-arranged between them, causing injuries which claimed his life."
Adel Fawzy, the father of the deceased is demanding justice for his murdered son and an appropriate punishment for the culprits according to the law. "I do not want my only son's case to end up like the recent murders of the young Coptic man Jeshua Gamal from Dafash or Milad Ibrahim from El-Tayeba, in Samalut, Minya, where in both murders, the Muslim defendants were not charged according to the law, but got acquitted," he told Nader Shoukry of Copts United advocacy in a video interview. "I appeal to the conscience of the court: my son was innocent and was treacherously killed -- the judge is my last resort".
Fawzy wrote to President Mubarak, the Prime Minister, Justice and Interior ministers, with no response. He even created a group on Facebook in support of his case. "I am sending a plea to all human rights organizations to support me until my murdered son gets justice," he told Shoukry.
But the father is doubtful that justice will be served. The Chief Prosecutor in Tanta changed his original classification of the crime from "deliberate and premeditated killing" to "assault leading to death." The report of the prosecution concluded "the defendants did not intend to kill him, but death was caused by a fatal blow, and four of the five defendants are under the age of 18 years."
"Will my son be deprived of justice because of the Chief Prosecutor? How can he charge them with 'unintentional killing' due to a blow on the head? Is this God's Justice? He was with me when I went to identify my son in the morgue. What about the more than twenty kicks he received in the face? My son had no recognizable face features -- they were all wiped out."
When Fawzy learned that the charge was amended from murder to manslaughter, he went to the Chief Prosecutor, but was told "he cannot do anything about it, and this will be sorted out in Court." he told Shoukry. "I am just a poor man with no money to hire the best lawyers like the defendants. I believe that the father of defendant Motaz, who is a professor at Tanta University, influenced the Prosecution's decision."
According to legal experts, in order for the prosecution to arrive at 'unintentional killing' they falsified the record to show that the incident was just a brawl between juveniles with assault leading to death. According to eyewitnesses' statements and defendants' confessions, the crime had all the elements of premeditated murder with malice aforethought. Prosecution ignored circumstances such as lurking for the victim, multiple accomplices, preparation and use of deadly instrument in the attack (brass knuckles), persistent aggression without resistance, and mutilation of a dead body.
"This case is premeditated murder. These are five people who allied to murder Malak" commented Dr. Naguib Gabraeel, renown attorney and head of the Egyptian Union Human Rights Organization. "I will go myself to the criminal court in Tanta to ask the judge to amend the registry of the charge from 'Assault leading to death' to 'premeditated murder' which carries the death penalty." The court hearing is scheduled for September 14th, 2009.
The two main eyewitnesses, Hassan Mohammed Hassan and Mark Karam, stated to the police that when they tried to save the victim from their hands, the assailants threatened that if they did not go away they will be killed like Malak.
Malak's mother told Sherif Ramzy of Freecopts advocacy that the Tanta University Hospital phoned them before midnight on that night to tell them that their son Malak was mildly injured. "When we went there we were told he was having an operation, and charged us 700 Egyptian pounds. Later they told us they needed blood for him, which we donated. 15 minutes later they told us he died." she said. "If he was dead before arriving there, so what were they playing at?"
"Prosecution tried to intimidate me to stop demanding a just punishment for the perpetrators, they tried to buy me off with money on condition I would reconcile with the killers, but I refused." Fawzy said. "Even the main witness in the case, Hassan Mohammed Hassan was exposed to material temptations, to change his testimony against the defendants."
According to Magdy Khalil, Coptic political analyst and researcher, "All violations against the Copts are deliberately falsely described in a misleading manner." Christian advocacy groups believe that the Egyptian police routinely tamper with evidence and use faulty classification of violations against Copts, in order to help Muslims avoid murder convictions, since according to Shariah law "the blood of the Muslim should not be shed for the blood of an unbeliever."
In spite of the many Copts having been killed over the years, not one Muslim has ever been convicted. A recent example was the 5-year sentence handed down to two policemen for throwing a Coptic mand to his death out of a window (AINA 5-28-2009).
Dr. Naguib Gabraeel, who is a Copt himself, said that the prevailing Coptic conditions have become dangerous, "How long will the Copts put up with murder and violations against humanity and their natural rights? We simply cannot take it any longer. It is happening everyday. We plead to President Mubarak to protect the Copts."
By Mary Abdelmassih

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