By Essam Fadl
GIZA: The Giza Appeals Committee decided on Monday to turn down an appeal filed by the Giza Archbishopric which requested a reversal of the decision to demolish a community center for the Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael Church.
The decision to demolish it was taken by Al-Omraneya district administration office.
Adel El-Limsawy, a lawyer for the Giza Archbishopric, told Daily News Egypt that the committee informed him of its decision on Tuesday after the head of the Giza appeals committee refused to let the archbishopric’s lawyers attend its session.
He added that one of the reasons listed in the committee’s decision to reject the appeal request was that Al-Omraneya district administration office’s decision to demolish the church was based on sound legal reasoning.
“We will go to the Administrative Court to file an appeal,” El-Limsawy added.
The Al-Omraneya district administration office decision to demolish the community center spurred clashes between Copts and security forces last November. As a result of the clashes, two Copts died and dozens from both sides of the conflict were injured.
The Giza Appeals Committee previously decided to accept the appeal and obliged Al-Omraneya district administration office to present documents that prove that the community center for the Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael Church falls under the jurisdiction of Al-Omraneya district’s administration.
The documentation that the committee requested was what Al-Omraneya district administration office had used to justify its decision to demolish the community center in the first place.
The Giza Archbishopric asked in its appeal request that Al-Omraneya district administration office’s decision to prevent further construction of the community center be halted on the grounds that the community center — located in a slum — does not officially fall within the district administration office’s urban planning jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, military prosecution started interrogating a security member who was accused by the church of stealing a construction machine used by the Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael Church while the security member was on-duty to guard the church.
El-Limsawy said that the security member’s attempted robbery was discovered when he was caught trying to sell the machine to one of the building contractors in Al-Ekhlas Street, where the church is located.
When the contractor saw the machine, he immediately realized that it belonged to the church — especially after the security member asked for a mere LE 400 in exchange for a machine worth more than LE 7,000.
“We filed a complaint that included the official ID number of the security member … which is 0018785,” El-Limsawy stated. “The security member is [being] interrogated now by military prosecution.”
El-Limsawy confirmed that he asked Al-Omraneya Police Station to allow the church to hire private guards to protect the church’s property, where the building process was halted.
“Robberies from the church that occurred during the clashes amounted to more than LE 500,000, and we are conducting investigations inside the building site to … figure out the exact, total value of all items stolen,” El-Limsawy added.