Man sentenced in rape case that sparked sectarian violence

A Coptic man was on Monday sentenced to 15 years in prison for raping a Muslim girl, an incident which the government blamed for sparking sectarian violence in Naga Hammadi, Upper Egypt.

Judicial sources said the Qena Criminal Court sent Gerges Baroumi Gerges, 21, a chicken seller, to prison for raping a 12-year-old girl from a village in Qena. 

Egyptian police arrested Gerges in November 2009 for rape in the village of Farshout, 600km south of Cairo.

Following the incident, angry Muslims burned and destroyed dozens of shops belonging to Christians in the village. The Ministry of Interior said the incident may have been an underlying motive for the killing of six Christians and a Muslim guard in Naga Hammadi following Christmas celebrations on 6 January 2010. Naga Hammadi is near Farshout.

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