Investigations continue in Imbaba’s Sectarian Violence

Ahram Online

Investigations into the sectarian violence that occurred in Imababa, Giza, last Saturday continue, with suspects being referred to the National Security Emergency High Court

Prime Minister Essam Sharaf has decided that all suspects in the violent incidents that occured in Imbaba, Giza, last Saturday will be investigated before the National Security Emergency High Court instead of the military ones. The Supreme Council of Armed Forces has come under fire on numerous occasions recently for resorting to military trails, and the case involves many details that require investigation. However, Sharaf’s decision has still been criticised by those demanding a civil trial.

Since the incident, which left 12 dead and 232 injured, the Ministry of Interior has arrested tens of suspects. The latest are 10 people who appeared in an online video calling on people to burn churches in Imbaba, Giza, according to the Ministry of Interior’s official website. They are currently being investigated in relation to the incidents.

Moreover, the police have arrested other 16 suspects today, according to Ahram sources in Giza Security Department. Ten of the suspects are accused of taking part in the violence surrounding the Virgin Mary Church in Imbaba, while the other six are suspected of opening fire in front of Imbaba’s Mary Mina Church.

The investigations thus far point towards Adel Labib — the Coptic businessman who is a former member of the National Democratic Party — as being the first to open fire in the incident.

Another 17 suspects were arrested, including two critical figures in the case. The first is the husband of the woman who was said to be locked up in the church, and the other is the owner of the coffee shop next to the church. The coffee shop is said to be where the gunfire began.

Security forces have also arrested 24 Muslims and Copts accused of taking part in the incidents. Another 25 suspects were kept under detainment in hospital.

On the day of the incident, the armed forces and police arrested 190 people suspected of taking part in the sectarian violence.

Meanwhile, Giza Governor Ali Abdel Rahman has anounced the beginning of reconctruction efforts for the two burned churches. He expects the reconstruction to be complete within 10 days.

The two churches, as well as the homes of several Copts, were burned in Imbaba, Giza last Saturday in the violent events that have disrupted Egyptian society.