A file photo for Mrs Soad Thabet. Al Ahram
Egypt’s prosecutor-general ordered on Thursday his technical office to study ways to appeal a criminal court order that acquitted three men accused of stripping an elderly Coptic Christian woman off her clothes as soon as the court issues the reasoning behind its verdict.
A criminal court acquitted on Thursday three defendants who were accused of stripping and dragging an elderly Coptic Christian woman through her village of Al-Karm in Upper Egypt’s Minya in an incident that shocked the country in 2016.
74-years-old Soad Thabet was attacked after an angry mob attacked her home and the homes of other Christians in the village following a rumor that her son was having an affair with a Muslim woman in the village.
In January 2020, the court sentenced the three defendants in the case in absentia to ten years for assaulting and stripping the old woman off her clothes.
The three defendants — a father and his two sons — were then acquitted in a re-trial on Thursday after they surrendered themselves to the authorities earlier.
The new court verdict can be appealed.
The news of the verdict was met by anger and condemnation on social media.
Leading rights group Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) condemned the verdict in a statement urging the public prosecution to appeal the verdict.
The president of Egypt’s National Council For Women (NCW), Maya Morsy, thanked the Prosecutor-General Hamda El-Sawy for ordering his office to study appealing the acquittal.
Morsy also announced that the NCW was ready to provide Soad Thabet with the legal help she needed from lawyers if she asked for it.