Authorities release 4 in Omraniya church riot case

Egyptian Attorney General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud on Monday ordered a continued 15-day detention of 152 defendants pending investigation. The defendants were previously arrested during the Omraniya church riots. Mahmoud simultaneously ordered the release of two women and two minors in order to facilitate their continued their schooling.

After a decision to stop construction work on a church had been issued, the Giza Security Directorate had arrested the Coptic protesters on charges of rioting and assaulting police officers in Omraniya. Giza authorities claimed the church lacked the proper building permits.

Bloody clashes broke out on 25 November between security forces and Coptic protesters, leaving two protesters dead and dozens injured on both sides.

Amid heavy security presence, the defendants were transferred in Central Security trucks from Tura Prison to a southern Giza courthouse.

A security cordon surrounded the courthouse, blocking all paths to the building, and even prevented some defendants' relatives from entering. The security presence extended to the seventh floor where the prosecution listened to the defendants’ statements denying all charges.

The defendants said they had not taken part in the protests and that when originally picked up, they were clueless as to the cause of their arrest. The defense team requested their release, denying the existence of any justification for their detention.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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