File Photo: Archpriest Arsanios Wadid.
Preliminary death sentences are issued pending the non-binding consultative opinion of the country’s Grand Mufti, as per Egypt's penal code.
The 56-year-old victim, a priest at the Church of the Virgin Mary and Mar Boulos, was stabbed to death on the evening of 7 April as he was walking along the Mediterranean corniche in Alexandria’s Sidi Bishr district.
The assailant was apprehended hours later and confessed to the crime.
The defendant later recanted his confession, however, claiming that the knife found in his possession was just for self-defence and that he was not aware of what he was doing on the day of the incident, according to the prosecution.
The prosecution added that a mental health evaluation determined that the man showed no signs of a psychological disorder and was fully cognizant and possessed agency while committing the crime.
The prosecution also said that the weapon found in possession of the defendant had the victim’s DNA on it.
The prosecution also checked surveillance cameras at the crime scene and obtained the testimonies of 17 eyewitnesses.
Also, after conducting interviews with the defendant's relatives, the prosecution learned that he had joined extremist groups. He had also previously served a 20-year prison sentence for joining an outlawed group.
The suspect refused to be defended by a lawyer, and denied the charges against him.
The victim was ordained to the priesthood in 1995 by the late Pope Shenouda III, the former head of the Coptic Orthodox Church.