Four more Egyptian Copts detained in Libya: fact-finding committee member

Ahram Online, Saturday 16 Mar 2013

Despite protests following the death — allegedly under torture — of a Coptic Egyptian in Libya last week, four more Egyptian Copts were arrested Friday

Member of the fact-finding committee on the status of Egyptian Copts in Libya Amir Ayad says the committee has received news that four more Egyptian Copts were arbitrarily detained Friday night in the neighbouring country based on their religion, a week after an Egyptian Coptic detainee died in Libya allegedly under torture.

"We were informed that security forces at a checkpoint in the city of Misrata stops cars and asks passengers if they are Muslims or Christians and that four Egyptian Christians were arrested at that checkpoint without charges," Ayad told Al-Ahram Arabic news portal Friday night.

Last Sunday, a 45-year-old Egyptian man, Ezzat Atallah, was confirmed dead by the Egyptian foreign ministry. Atallah had been among five Christian Egyptians detained in Libya for allegedly proselytising in the predominantly Muslim nation.

Atallah's brother said his brother had been tortured after being moved from a Benghazi prison prior to investigations.

A group of Coptic youth activists staged protests at the Libyan embassy in Cairo last week in anger at Atallah's death and to demand the release of those still arrested.

According to Ayad, a delegation from different Coptic movements will sit down Saturday with Pope Tawadros II to discuss a response to the situation of Egyptian Copts in Libya.

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