An Egyptian court on Monday acquitted four Muslims accused of killing an elderly Christian, saying that testimony from witnesses had not established they were the murderers, a judicial source said. Current Font Size:
The men were arrested in October after the elderly Copt was killed at his home in the southern village of Dairut. They allegedly planned to attack the Copt’s son, who was dating a Muslim girl and was rumoured to have circulated a CD with explicit pictures of her.
But the judge presiding over the court in the southern city of Assyut said he was not satisfied that witness testimony proved the imprisoned men were the killers.
Muslim villagers clashed with Copts after the men’s imprisonment, stoning churches and Christian homes.
Copts account for between six and 10 percent of Egypt’s 80-million population. They complain of discrimination and have been the targets of sectarian killings and violence.
In the worst sectarian attack in years, Muslim gunmen shot dead six Copts and a Muslim policeman on the night before Coptic Christmas on January 6 in southern Egypt.
A state security court has since put on trial three Muslim suspects in the killings.