By Coptic Solidarity
Coptic Solidarity condemns in the strongest terms the egregious ruling by a Minya court to acquit all defendants in the case of Soad Thabet, an elderly Coptic woman who was stripped naked, beaten, spit upon, and paraded through the streets of her village by a Muslim mob on May 20, 2016.
After multiple delay tactics, including judges “recusing” themselves and retrials by different court circuits, the case reached this sad conclusion. The Egyptian judiciary has revealed their true face of Islamist fanaticism and blatant bias against Coptic victims. This is indeed shameful for a country that has employed some form of a “modern” justice system for 150 years.
Upon hearing news of the court ruling, Mrs. Thabet, burst into tears, simply saying:
“What shall I do after being so humiliated! My right is in the hands of my Lord who shall render me His justice.”
Despite ample witnesses and video evidence, Mrs. Thabet’s case has been waiting more than four years for a conviction of her known attackers, Nazeer Ishaq Ahmed Abdel-Hafez, Abdel-Moneim Ishaq Ahmed Abdel-Hafez, and Ishaq Ahmed Abdel-Hafez. These defendants were previously sentenced in absentia to 10 years imprisonment by the Samalout Criminal Court.
In addition to this severe miscarriage of justice for Mrs. Thabet, her case highlights other elements of systematic discrimination against Copts in the Egyptian judiciary which retain Copts as second- class citizens in Egypt.
- Mrs. Thabet’s attack was part of collective punishment. A Muslim mob of about 300 individuals were punishing her based on an unfounded rumor that her son had a romantic relationship with a Muslim woman. This “collective punishment” is commonly used in Egypt to keep Copts in “their place.” Seven Coptic homes were burned by the mob during this attack on Mrs. Thabet. Copts in the village suffered, merely for being Christians in the vicinity.
- Egyptian police regularly ignore complaints by Copts. When the rumors regarding Mrs. Thabet’s son emerged, she and her husband started experiencing harassment and threats by Muslim neighbors. They went to the local police station to file a complaint. Rather than register their case, police threatened the elderly couple. It also took these very same police more than 2 hours to arrive at the Thabet’s residence despite the attack of a large mob.
- Copts are not treated equally under Egyptian law. Despite incontrovertible evidence of Muslim men assaulting Mrs. Thabet, the Egyptian judiciary has refused to hold the perpetrators accountable and have denied Mrs. Thabet any form of justice for the violent and humiliating attack she suffered for merely being related to a Copt accused of violating Shari’a law.
Coptic Solidarity urges the incoming Biden Administration to immediately address such cases of judicial injustice and systematic discrimination against Copts in Egypt. President-elect Biden has indicated that human rights will be a leading aspect of foreign policy in his administration, and we urge him to follow-through on this promise.