February 8, 2013
More Convictions for Egypt's Maspero Massacre—But Copts not Soldiers
So far, no military officers convicted for October 2011 incident that killed 28 Copts.
It's been more than a year since a military-induced massacre in Cairo, Egypt, killed 28 people—mostly Coptic Christians. But the only people convicted thus far have been the Christians themselves.
Last week, a Cairo court sentenced Michael Farag and Michael Shaker to three years in jail, charging them with inciting violence, destroying military vehicles, and deliberately attacking soldiers. Farag and Shaker were among the more than 30 Coptic civilians arrested following the massacre, 12 of whom were given life sentences last May.
The news comes as the new leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Tawadros II, issued unusually public criticism of the government of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.
The October 2011 massacre took place during a civil rights march where, according to video footage, military officers drove armored vehicles through crowds of demonstrators in front of the Maspero state television headquarters. Demonstrators claim they were attacked, but the military maintains that weapons stolen by Farag and Shaker were fired back at soldiers, causing panic.
CT previously reported the Maspero massacre, the "bloodiest day since Egypt’s uprising," and reported that a court convicted 12 Copts and acquitted 8 Muslims for their roles in May 2012. CT also interviewed a leader of the Maspero Youth Union in Cairo for a recent feature story on the fight for Egypt's future.