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Court Gives Life Sentences To 12 Egyptian Christians

Upper Egypt court convicts 12 Copts and acquits 8 Muslims for roles in deadly 2011 sectarian fight.

Sectarian violence in Upper Egypt, common as it may be, rarely results in court action. But yesterday a criminal court in Minya raised eyebrows when it sentenced 12 Copts to life in prison while acquitting 8 Muslims for their roles in a deadly April 2011 fight that killed several Muslims and destroyed Christian homes and businesses.

The Maspero Youth Union, a leading advocate of minority rights, protested the ruling in front of Cairo's High Court today. The group recently released a report on the surge in sectarian violence following Egypt's January 2011 revolution. Compass Direct News reports many of the incidents here.

Such violence in rural Egypt is often handled not by courts but by "reconciliation committees," which have drawn headlines for frequently preserving the peace by evicting victims from the community.

Christianity Today has been posting regular dispatches from Cairo, including an exclusive interview on what the leading Islamist presidential candidate thinks of Christians, the death of Pope Shenouda III and why it matters, and overlooked efforts by Christians and Muslims to find common ground.

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