The era of Hosni Mubarak will be remembered in modern Egyptian history as being the bloodiest era for the Copts and the worst for all Egyptians. One of the most ferocious Muslim attacks against Copts for decades took place nine years ago, in a small town in Upper Egypt, called “El-Kosheh”, where 70% of its population is Copts. This small town lies 50Km (35 miles) north of Luxor, one of the most famous Egyptian archaeological sites. This tragedy began with the murder of two Coptic young me on August 14, 1998, as a normal homicide, which could have happened anywhere on our planet, but the inhumane and ruthless way the investigations were conducted by the local police, marked it as being one of the gravest cases of human rights violations against the Copts on recent records. In order to imply the Islamic tradition (no Muslim could be condemned for the blood of an infidel) the police began arresting Copts instead of arresting the real Muslim perpetrator. Men, women and children were rounded up and dragged to their headquarters, to force confessions to a murder which none of them ever committed. Such instances of police brutality against Copts were not the first nor will it be the last. The police targeted mainly one Coptic family, called Boctor Yameen Micheal. In order to frame Boctor for the murder, the police plotted to use his 15 year old girl to invent a credible revenge motive. However, the girl went into hiding prior to the plan being carried out. Once the police realized that their plan was ruined, the family was stripped and brutally tortured with electric shocks to their genitals and their feet. Romani, the 11 years old brother of the hiding girl, was hung from the ceiling fan. In spite of the fear that the Copts were feeling, two Coptic priests complained to their Bishop of what was happening to their congregation.Bishop Wissa took his concern to higher governmental authorities and Human Rights organizations. The police continued arresting innocent people, until the number of jailed Copts reached 1,200 before halting, in the middle of September. With the presence of the international media and human right organizations, hundreds of tortured Copts came forward to show signs of torture on their bodies, or offering affidavits regarding their experiences in the jails. Finally the police was able to extract a fake confession from “Arsel Shaiboub” whose mother was threatened with rape, and his family’s spirit was broken under torture. The Egyptian court sentenced him to death. Bishop Wissa, along with the other two clergymen were arrested and charged with “damaging social peace and the national image internationally”. They were later released as a result of international protests, but the charges against them are still pending. Also Mr. Hafez Abu Seda, head of one of Egypt’s large human rights organizations was detained and charged with criminal offenses, but he was also released due to the same international protests. The official government investigations were closed for lack of evidence, but the photos of the tortured people have been promoted to the foreign media at the price of £300 Egyptian pounds for each exposure.
This was only the beginning of this sad story, but what happened after, will be continued next.