Defense attorneys for the main suspect, Ash’eyaa al-Makary, in the murder of Bishop Epiphanius on Saturday demanded that the case be reinvestigated, claiming their defendant was forced into confessing.
Public Prosecution charged monks Ash’eyaa and Faltaous al-Makary (Raymon Rasmy Mansour) with premeditated murder.
Defense attorneys Kerlis Samy and Mohamed Ramadan submitted a request on Saturday with the Public Prosecution’s office in Alexandria to reopen the case.
In their memo submitted to the prosecution, they wrote that after talking to Ash’eyaa on August 28 he denied committing the murder, claiming he was outside the monastery at the time of the crime.
The lawyers added that their client said that he was tortured physically and psychologically by authorities in order to get him to confess.
Their memo demanded a speedy investigation into the supposed torture, calling it a human rights violation.
Last month Bishop Epiphanius was found dead in front of his own monastic cell at the Saint Macarius Monastery, Wadi al-Natroun. Monks at the scene immediately notified al-Natroun police, who discovered that the Bishop had fractures in the back of his skull, leading to suspicion of murder.
The Public Prosecution office in Alexandria concluded investigations into the case last month, and referred two monks to criminal trial over the murder of Bishop Epiphanius.
Ash’eyaa confessed to the killing earlier this month, and was deprived of his ecclesiastical rank over behavior that violated his duties.
He said that he worked alongside with fellow monk Faltaous to carry out the killing. Faltaous later attempted suicide on August 6 to escape punishment, and is currently under police watch at the Anglo American Hospital in Zamalek while he recovers.
Ash’eyaa claimed that he hit Epiphanius three times on his head using an iron tube, which was prepared for the crime. He added that his partner in the crime Faltaous had been making sure the coast was clear until the deed was done.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm