Court acquits all Massara church case defendants

The Rod al-Farag Court of Appeals on Sunday acquitted all defendants involved in the Massara church demonstration last year against the bombing of an Alexandria church.

The court dropped all charges against the defendants, which included destroying a number of Central Security Force vehicles and beating a number of their recruits during the protest outside the Massara church in Shubra.

Eight people had been convicted in the case and sentenced to two years in prison after the demonstration against the bombing of the Two Saints Church in Alexandria on New Year’s Eve in 2010, which killed 20 people.

The defendants included Al-Masry Al-Youm journalist Mostafa Mohy Eddin and seven activists, who were charged with rioting, illegal gathering and assaulting police officers.

The activists were arrested while forming a human shield outside the Virgin Mary Church in Massara in solidarity with the Copts.

Defense lawyer Negad al-Borei told the court that the first defendant, Mohy Eddin, was sent to cover the events by his news organization and that the defense had provided evidence of this to the State Security Court.

Borei added that the court’s ruling did not provide this documented proof that had been submitted, and that, according to the law, journalists must attend meetings and protests in order to relay what happens.

The lawyer said the case was dominated by police, as all the witnesses and damage and medical reports had been issued by or affiliated with police hospitals and authorities. He said the prosecution did nothing but ratify the ruling.

Edited translation by Al-Masry Al-Youm

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