Charges dropped in Egyptian Christian woman’s assault
A Muslim mob beat and stripped down the woman in public
Egyptian prosecutors have dropped a case against members of a Muslim mob accused of stripping a 70-year-old woman of her clothes and parading her naked in the streets.
Souad Thabet’s lawyer, Eihab Ramzy, called the decision a “calamity” after prosecutors cited a lack of sufficient evidence.
“The preliminary investigation heard testimonies supporting her account from family members and policemen at the scene,” Ramzy said.
The Muslim mob in May assaulted Thabet following accusations that her son had an affair with Nagwa Fouad, a married woman. Fouad denied the rumors and accused her husband of spreading the allegations to get a free divorce. Thabet said the mob stormed her home in Minya, a province south of Cairo along the Nile River, and beat up her husband and her before stripping off her clothes and parading her through the streets.
“They left me as naked as the day I was born,” Thabet had said on a local TV show. “They were heavily armed, so no one dared approach me to help.”
Ramzy said local authorities were trying to facilitate reconciliation between the family and Muslims in the village. But Thabet said her family had not been able to return home since the attack because of continual threats from Islamic extremists. The mob is also facing accusations of attacking and burning down several Christians’ houses in the province.
“I was hoping that they will be punished,” Thabet told The Telegraph. “Now I can only complain to God and hope He brings justice.”
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had referred to the attack as “shameful” and called for a fair and transparent investigation.
Christians in Egypt make up about 10 percent of the country’s population. The minority Christians face discrimination, which is more prominent in less populated regions like Minya province.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s Egypt advocacy officer said Christians in Egypt were only seeking equal treatment and not special treatment. He described the proscutors’ decision as disappointing and said it could encourage similar assaults.
“If justice is not being served, there’s no deterrent that this will not happen again,” he said.
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