General-Prosecutor Nabil Sadek ordered on Tuesday the referral of an Egyptian man accused of killing Coptic Priest Samaan Shehata to the Cairo Criminal Court.
The case occurred on Thursday when a priest was killed and another was injured by a man in El-Marg, east of Cairo. The priests were reportedly on their way to collect donations for the church.
The defendant blocked their way and stabbed Shehata to death and injured the other, according to media reports.
The defendant was arrested and detained for four days pending investigation on accusations of premeditated murder. A statement by the Ministry of Interior said that the suspect named Ahmed Al-Sonbaty.
Although there was no clear identification for the case whether terrorist or sectarian attack, the Coptic Orthodox Church said that the victim was “martyred”, said in “a message to the terrorists” that the church becomes stronger when a martyr falls. He added that “the church is watered with the blood of the martyrs.”
Also, the Ministry of Interior said in its statement that the suspect was previously accused of assaulting his parents and burning their house. Local media outlets cited the suspect’s neighbours and eyewitnesses as being a radical.
On Friday, the funeral, which was attended by several high-ranking priests, took place in Beni Suef. A video circulated on social media shows the suspect chasing the victim and stabbing him.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi recently addressed sectarianism on two public speeches, during which he asserted that accountability for such incidents must be implemented to enforce the law.