- Middle East/North Africa
Scores of Egyptians protested outside the Libyan Embassy on Monday night after an Egyptian Christian, Ezzat Atallah, who was accused of proselytizing in Libya, died in the custody of Libyan authorities.
Attalah’s lawyer, Naguib Guebrayel, told AFP that Atallah was killed after being tortured. A source told the Anadolu news agency that Atallah died of natural causes in the presence of the four other Egyptian suspects in the case.
Young Christian protesters said they would not move until all detainees accused in the same case return home, and Atallah’s family is compensated.
The protesters torched the Libyan flag and smashed the building facade.
Bishop Pachomius said he follows the situation of Egyptian Copts in Libya and that he is in continuous contact with officials in Egypt, the Egyptian Embassy in Libya and the ministry of foreign affairs over the incidents which took place against some Egyptian Copts there.
In his remarks on Monday, Pachomius said that he contacted the Egyptian church in Tripoli once he was informed about death of Atallah to know the consequences.
He said that the church was not notified by either the victim’s family or official authorities, as he was an evangelical christian.
Pachomius said the victim’s family should notify the Egyptian embassy in Libya, which will finish the legal procedures of the death and then inform the church to take the religious procedures in attendance of representative from the embassy, which takes charge of deporting the body to Egypt, in cooperation with the church.
The church plays its role in assisting any Egyptian, even if he doesn’t belong its sect, Pachomius said.
An Egyptian citizen died on Sunday in Libya during his detention pending investigations into charges of evangelism, according to a diplomatic source.
Pachomius assured that the reasons of the death are still unknown for the judge in Libya and that the Egyptian embassy is the authority that should take the necessary legal steps.
He said that he follows on issues of the rest of detained Copts in Benghazi, adding that most of them are held for reasons related to their visas.
Edited translation from MENA