Naga Hammadi suspects referred for trial

Three men accused of killing seven people in a drive-by shooting outside a church in the Qena Governorate town of Naga Hammadi on Coptic Christmas eve have been referred for trial at the Supreme State Security Emergency Court by Attorney General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud.

Hendawi Sayed Mohamed, Qurashi Abul Haggag Mohamed, and Mohamed Ahmed Hassan, also known as Hamam el-Kammouni have been charged with premeditated murder of the seven victims and the use of force, violence, and terror to undermine public security. The men also stand accused of possession of machine guns and ammunition, intentional destruction of private property, and attempted murder in the cases of those injured during the shooting.

North Qena Prosecution finalized investigations after receiving technical reports on the crime. According to the prosecution, the evidence incriminates the three men.

Meanwhile, People’s Assembly member Fathi Qandil said that the parliamentary committee dispatched to visit the crime scene in Naga Hammadi should have held a private meeting with Anba Kirolos, Qena’s Coptic bishop. Qandil said that the presence of people not from the committee denied Anba Kirolos the opportunity to speak freely.

Ibtisam Habib, a Christian member of the committee who was dispatched to Naga Hammadi, urged the committee to include the details of her private meeting with Anba Kirolos in the committee’s report—a suggestion which Qandil opposed.

Ibtisam said that Anba Kirolos informed her that the rape of a 12-year-old Muslim girl by a Christian man in the nearby town of Farshout spurred the revenge killings of Naga Hammadi. The bishop further promised Ibtisam that he would hand over the rapist if he didn’t receive his punishment, according to the parliament member. But, Ibtisam added, the girl’s family had already hired someone to retaliate.

In related news, the North Qena Prosecution has released 30 activists and bloggers who were detained Friday while en route to Naga Hammadi to condemn sectarianism and offer condolences to the families of the victims of the shooting.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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