Acourt in Minya ordered Wednesday the release of eight defendants held against the backdrop of a sectarian strife that occurred in the governorate in May, during which an elderly Coptic woman was stripped off her clothes. The group is the last to be released out of a total of 16 defendants.
The defendants were released on EGP 10,000 bail each, reported state-run newspaper Al-Ahram.
Dozens had looted and torched at least seven homes belonging to Coptic families in the village of El-Karam, according to the Coptic Orthodox Church.
“Nobody is currently being held accountable for the incidents. It is our experience that there might be no case and that the file will be thrown in a drawer,” Ishak Ibrahim, researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) told Daily News Egypt Thursday.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi had instructed respective authorities to hold those responsible for the incidents accountable , also instructing the Minya governor to coordinate with the Armed Forces to restore the damaged buildings in the incident within a month from the time of the incident, stating that the state will pay for the expenses.
The incident began when Soaad Thabet, 70, was forced out of her home by an angry mob and was then dragged into the street, beaten, and stripped, the church claimed.
The reason behind her assault was the spread of a rumour about an alleged affair between Thabet’s son and a Muslim woman, sparking tensions in the village in Minya, leading to threats against the son, who subsequently left the village.