Published — Wednesday 13 March 2013
Last update 13 March 2013 6:43 am
CAIRO: Protesters burned a flag belonging to the Libyan Embassy in Cairo yesterday to protest the death in prison of an Egyptian Christian suspected of proselytizing in Libya.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said that Ezzat Atallah likely died of natural causes. He suffered from diabetes and a heart ailment.
Protesters said they suspect that poor prison conditions and possible abuse may have contributed to his death.
“The killing of Copts is illegal,” chanted the crowd of 100, mostly Coptic Christians. Some draped an Egyptian flag over the Libyan Embassy’s gates. Four foreigners are still in prison in Libya for alleged espionage and proselytizing. They are a Swedish-American, a South Korean, a South African and an Egyptian.
Last week, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry intervened to win release from Libya of 55 Egyptians also suspected of trying to spread Christianity. Thirty-five of them were deported for illegally entering the country, while 20 were cleared to stay in Libya.
The protesters are also angry over reports that around 100 Coptic Egyptians are being held by an Libyan militia.