Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organization (EUHRO) head Nagib Gabriel is slated to hold a conference with President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi to discuss the situation facing Christians in Egypt following the beating and detainment of Copts in Al-Minya.
The meeting will take place as soon as the president is back from the UN General Assembly session in the US, according to Gabriel, adding that he will provide Al-Sisi with a comprehensive report on the situation.
Less than a week ago, 22 people were detained for rioting. Christians were protesting to call for the return of a kidnapped Christian woman who has been missing for more than a week, demanding that the police find her. “Her family has the right to know where she is,” said Nader Solaiman, founder of the Christian Youth movement.
Her husband had filed a report on her kidnap, but nothing had been done, according to Solaiman.
The police clashed with the protesters and stormed the following day in the middle of the night into houses and shops of Christians and beat people, including women and children, said Solaiman. Some were tied and hit, others dragged, while men and women were “insulted”.
“This is a shameful incident in the history of the interior ministry,” said Solaiman. The movement asked on Sunday Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb to open an investigation into Al-Minya’s security director and dismiss him from his post. “Al-Minya is in a bad state, and the security director has no role at all,” Solaiman added.
The Bread and Freedom Party condemned the incident in a Saturday statement: “The invasion of the police forces of Jabal Al-Tair village at dawn and the attack on Christians, men, women and children, while some were skinned and beaten, other’s homes were robbed, and they were called, is a grave event which cannot be tolerated whatever the justifications are.”
“We made two revolutions and put our faith in [President] Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi for a better treatment of Copts,” Solaiman said.
Christians paid a price with their churches and martyrs, but the treatment of security forces is the same as it was during Mubarak’s era, said Gabriel. The situation facing Copts is extremely bad, and they are excluded from interior ministry and other posts, the lawyer added.
There have been 239 kidnaps in six months from Al-Minya, Assuit, Sohag and other governorates, with the majority of kidnaps occurring in Al-Minya. Copts have had to pay EGP 21m in total to ensure their return, as security forces were ineffective, according to Gabriel.
The movement is calling for the return of Pope Tawadros II to Egypt. He has been away [in Canada] for almost two months, while Christians in Upper Egypt are suffering, said Solaiman.