Egypt charges two Coptic monks with bishop’s murder

In this May 27, 2017 file photo, a priest walks in front of St. Samuel the Confessor Monastery in Maghagha, Egypt. (AP)
Updated 19 August 2018
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Egypt charges two Coptic monks with bishop’s murder

  • Bishop Epiphanius, 68, the head of Saint Macarius monastery, was found dead in late July
  • The bishop’s death has rocked the Coptic Church in Egypt

CAIRO: Egyptian prosecutors on Sunday charged two Coptic monks with murdering a bishop at a desert monastery, in a high-profile case that has shaken the Christian community in the country.
Bishop Epiphanius, 68, the head of Saint Macarius monastery in Wadi el-Natrun, was found dead with a head wound in late July.
Prosecutors accuse monks Wael Al-Saad and Remon Resmi of agreeing to kill the senior cleric over unspecified “differences,” a statement from the attorney general’s office said.
Saad confessed to lying in wait for the bishop as he headed for prayers before hitting him over the head with a metal pipe while Resmi watched on, the statement said.
Prosecutors referred the two monks to trial but no date has been set for the case to be heard.
After the killing Saad, known by his ecclesiastical name Isaiah, was expelled from the Church and attempted to commit suicide.
The bishop’s death has rocked the Coptic Church in Egypt, the largest Christian community in the Middle East.
Following the incident, the Church announced a series of restrictive measures related to the activities of monks.
It said it was stopping accepting new monks for a year and gave current monks a month to disable all of their social media accounts.
Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II also closed his official Facebook page.
The moves pointed to the existence of rifts within the church that some have tied to the bishop’s murder.
Church authorities have remained largely silent on the matter.
Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s predominantly Sunni Muslim population of some 100 million.


Migrant killed during Libya disembarkation: UN

Updated 4 min 5 sec ago

Migrant killed during Libya disembarkation: UN

  • ‘This was tragedy waiting to happen’: International Organization for Migrationspokesman Leonard Doyle
  • IOM demands ‘immediate action ... to put an end to the suffering of civilians in Libya, especially detained migrants’

GENEVA: A Sudanese man was shot and killed Thursday as he and other migrants returned to shore by the Libyan Coast Guard tried to resist being sent back to detention, the UN said.
The International Organization for Migration strongly condemned the incident and demanded that Libyan authorities investigate and bring those responsible to justice.
“This was tragedy waiting to happen,” IOM spokesman Leonard Doyle said in a statement.
“The use of live bullets against unarmed vulnerable civilians, men, women and children alike, is unacceptable under any circumstances and raises alarms over the safety of migrants and humanitarian staff,” he added.
The UN agency said its staff had been on site at the Abusitta Disembarkation point in Tripoli when as many as 103 migrants returned to shore resisted being sent back to Libyan detention centers.
When several migrants tried to run away from the guards, “armed men began shooting into the air,” and one migrant was hit by a bullet in the stomach, according to the IOM staff accounts.
“Despite immediately receiving medical aid on the spot by an IOM doctor and then being transferred to a nearby clinic, he died two hours after admission,” the agency said.
The man’s death, it said, stood as “a stark reminder of the grim conditions faced by migrants picked up by the Coast Guard after paying smugglers to take them to Europe.”
The UN and aid groups have warned that rescued migrants returned to Libya face rampant human rights abuses in both official and illegal centers in the war-ravaged country.
According to the UN, some 5,000 migrant women, children and men remain detained in inhumane conditions in Libya — more than 3,000 of them in areas of active conflict.
In June, an airstrike on the Tajoura detention center killed 53 migrants, including six children.
“That facility remains operational to this day, despite persistent calls to end the arbitrary detention of migrants,” IOM said.
“Alternatives to detention must be found,” it said, stressing that the “increasing reports of abuse and human trafficking from detention centers are truly alarming.”
IOM demanded “immediate action ... to put an end to the suffering of civilians in Libya, especially detained migrants.”