By BosNewsLife Middle East Service
CAIRO, EGYPT (BosNewsLife)– Christian rights activists have condemned a decision to again postpone the trial of Mohammed al-Kammuni, who has been charged with killing six Christians in Upper Egypt. The trial was adjourned for the third consecutive time “without any reason being issued” and is scheduled to convene on May 16, said International Christian Concern (ICC), a major advocacy group.
Mohammed al-Kammuni is considered the mastermind behind the murder of six Christians and a police officer on January 6, 2010 when Coptic Christians were exiting Christmas Eve mass in the area of Naga Hammadi. He and two other defendants pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and threatening national security.
“Although angry over the postponement, the decision comes as no surprise to Egyptian Christians who have witnessed case after case of Muslim attacks against Christians either declared not guilty or given a light sentence,” ICC said.
Awad Shafik, an international Coptic lawyer and the President of the European Coptic Organization in Switzerland, said Christians may take international steps to receive justice. “If we cannot get our rights in the Egyptian courts, there is no other solution than to take it to the international criminal court” in The Hague, he said in published remarks.”
He said that the defense attorney for Mohammed al-Kammuni and the judge had been “conspiring together” and demanded the resignation of the judge.
TRIAL POSTPONED AGAIN
“After three months, the Egyptian court continues to postpone the trial until the Copts forget about it and the murderers are able to walk out free, or take a light judgment,” added Wagih Yacoub, a Coptic human rights activist in a statement distributed by ICC.
“This is identical to the case of El-Kush ten years ago, when 21 Christians were slaughtered, and all of the killers got out innocent and free. The blood of victims are screaming to get their rights.”
Aidan Clay, ICC Regional Manager of the Middle East, described the developments as “a slap in the face to the families of the victims and to all Egyptian Christians. These delaying tactics by the presiding judge are a blatant reminder that the Egyptian government will make every effort possible to cover-up or indirectly defend Muslim attackers of Christians.”
Clay said his organization supports calls for the judge to step down and that “justice will prevail.”
Egypt’s government has not directly commented on the case. It has denied wrongdoing saying it wants to crackdown on Islamic extremists.