Court refuses appeal to release Omraneya Copts

Salma Shukrallah, Thursday 9 Dec 2010

Court rejects appeal to release Copts arrested in the recent Omraneya clashes


Copts arrested following the Omraneya clashes have been refused release in court today. Tens of lawyers made the appeal for the release of the 133 prisoners arguing that until an investigation is over there is no need for their continued detention.

The court’s refusal means that prisoners will be detained for at least another 12 days, until the Prosecutor's Office decides whether to renew their detention for another 15 days or to allow for their release.

Lawyer Michael Raouf said it is likely that those detained will be tried before state security courts. He explained that this would curtail the ability of lawyers to appeal whatever sentences those accused might be given.

The detained were arrested when the government suspended construction on a church in the area of Omraneya and protests were sparked. Charges included the attempted murder of police officers and the intentional sabotage of public facilities.

Egypt’s patriarch, Pope Shenouda III, has announced that the Coptic community will not forget the blood of those who died during the events at the Omraneya church.

During his weekly sermon on Wednesday evening, the pope insisted that the church will do its best to bring justice to the victims and punish all the perpetrators, adding that Coptic blood is not cheap.

On 24 November, fights broke out between hundreds of Copts and policemen after the construction of a service center inside a Church in Omraneya, Giza, was ordered to stop due to lack of a proper building permit. The violence led to the death of two Copts.

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