File Photo: The Late Arcpriest Samaan Shehata
A South Giza criminal court issued a preliminary death sentence on Wednesday against a man convicted of killing Coptic Orthodox priest Samaan Shehata in Cairo last October.
The court has referred the case to the country's Grand Mufti for a non-binding opinion on the death sentence per Egyptian law.
The court set 15 January for a session to issue its verdict.
The defendant, Ahmed El-Sonbaty, was charged by the prosecution of premeditated murder of a Christian clergyman Shehata to death and injuring another priest in Madinat El-Salam in east Cairo.
The defence argued that the defendant was insane, but the prosecution answered that he was fully aware of his actions.
Shehata was an archpriest at the St Julius Church in El-Fashn in the governorate of Beni Suef in Upper Egypt.
The injured priest, Beymen Moftan, administers the El-Malak church in Matay, Minya.