Coptic Church sues government over New Year’s Eve Church Bombing

Emad Khalil

The Saint Mark Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Prime Minister Essam Sharaf and Interior Minister Mansour al-Essawy for the slow pace of the investigation into who was behind the New Years Eve church bombing, which left 23 Copts dead on 1 January.

News reports have said that documents seized from the now-disbanded State Security Investigation Service (SSIS) after the revolution implicated ex-Interior Minister Habib al-Adly in the attack. This information, however, has not been confirmed by any official source.

Adly had previously claimed “conclusive evidence” showed that the Gaza-based Army of Islam was behind the planning and execution of the attack, the deadliest against Copts in more than a decade, which sparked three days of rioting by Copts in Cairo and several other cities. The group, however, denied its involvement in the church bombing.

In the lawsuit, the Church was represented by the Community Religious Council of Alexandria, which was represented by Council Secretary Camille Sedeek and Nader Morcos of the Coptic Ecclesiastical Council in Alexandria.

The lawsuit was also filed by the Egyptian Center for Development Studies and Human Rights, as well as by the relatives of the victims and those injured in the bombing.

Joseph Malak, director the rights group, said that the lawsuit comes after all efforts to re-open investigations into the incident failed.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs state that security officials attempted to deceive everyone “with inaccurate information, in addition to the prosecutor’s decision to ban the investigations.”

The lawsuit demanded the speedy issuance of a court order compelling the attorney general, prime minister and interior minister to open investigations into the incident and to deliver all defendants in the case to the prosecution for questioning.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs called on the attorney general to cancel his decision to ban the publishing of any information revealed by the investigations into the incident.

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