Egyptian court sentences 2 Coptic men to three years prison for their alleged involvement in the fateful events of 9 October 2011 dubbed infamously as ‘The Maspero Massacre’. Anthony Hanna has his say.
Look closely at the photo. These are the innocent men and women who lost their lives on the night of 9 October 2011 when a peaceful protest outside the Maspero building which hosts the State’s television network was met by a deadly crackdown of Egypt’s police and military personnel. The protests, which were more like a silent vigil, was in response to an earlier attack by religious extremists on a Coptic Orthodox Church in Aswan. What commenced as a group of law abiding, peaceful citizens seeking justice and equality in a nation seeking the democratic sunlight post the 25th January revolution, ended with the lives of 26 innocent human beings.
Rather than initiating a fair and thorough investigation into the incident to determine where things went wrong and ultimately, hold and punish under the law those responsible, Egypt’s courts have sentenced 2 Coptic men, Maikel Adel Nagib Farag and Medhat Shaker, to three years prison for inciting violence by allegedly ‘stealing a machine gun’ from military personnel.
The real story, Egypt’s glorified military, the institution respected for its role in preserving what little dignity Egypt has left from the last 50 years of dictatorial and corrupt rule and for taking charge after the chaos of the 18 day revolution, fired upon the very citizens it is meant to protect. In the cases of Maikel Adel Nagib Farag and Medhat Shaker, eye witnesses make claim that the military met protesters with brute force and live ammunition and in an attempt to protect their fellow Egyptians from the rain of fire, wrestled a rifle from army personnel taking aim at the crowd.
There are the 2 differences – no machine gun and no stealing. Even if the weaponry in question was a machine gun, I put forward to Egypt’s courts in the case of the State vs Maikel Adel Nagib Farag and Medhat Shaker – just what was a machine gun doing at Maspero in the first place? I put it to the judge who has sentenced two innocent men this week, is wrestling a firearm from a soldier shooting at unarmed civilians protesting peacefully in Egypt’s public streets, considered stealing?
The lives of 26 innocent Coptic, more importantly Egyptian, men and women were lost on that fateful day which we as Copts and as justice seeking Egyptians will never forget. The events of Maspero and the events of the aftermath, will never be forgotten.
The Australian Coptic Movement on behalf of the Coptic community in Australia and the wider international diaspora condemn the subsequent actions by the Egyptian judicial system and demand the immediate overturn of the verdicts handed down to Maikel Adel Nagib Farag and Medhat Shaker. If anyone should face charges for the events of Maspero, it is the hierarchy of Egypt’s military institution as well as Egypt’s state run media for their involvement on the black day of 9 October 2011 whom should take the place of Michael and Medhat and only then, when justice is finally delivered for the injustices against Egypt’s Copts as well as Egyptian citizens as a whole, will the great people of Egypt be able to move forward to a brighter future. If someone, anyone, is to be charged with stealing in Egypt at this point in time, we ask that President Mouhammad Morsi face trial for the current and ongoing attempts to steal the most basic of human freedoms from the people of Egypt.
Whether Coptic or Muslim, Egyptians will stand steadily and stiffened in the face of tyranny and the time will come when those responsible – the real belligerents of Maspero, will face the sweet sounding music of a band I call J.U.S.T.I.C.E.
The Maspero Massacre and trials affiliated with it can be followed by going to http://masperotrial.blogspot.com/. The Maspero Youth Union have prepared an ongoing report on the incidents of 9th October 2011 which you can visit by going to http://sectarianviolenceegypt2011.blogspot.com/.
Anthony Hanna is a member of The Australian Coptic Movement Association working within the finance and administration area as well as media and public relations. A full time Accountant, Anthony focuses on the community development side of the ACM’s programs and initiatives with the aim of empowering and promoting the notion of Coptic Identity. You can contact Anthony on email@example.com.
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