An Egyptian court has sentenced 71 people to life in prison for attacking and burning a Coptic church in reaction to the 2013 removal of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, Ahram Online reports.
The Virgin Mary Church in Giza province’s Kafr Hakim village was torched and looted by a mob on August 14, 2013. Multiple charges against the accused included fomenting chaos, belonging to an illegal group, possession of weapons and attempted murder.
A total of 52 defendants were tried in absentia, with 21 already jailed. Two minors were sentenced to 10 years in prison. Under Egypt’s penal code, a life sentence is 25 years in prison. All the verdicts can be appealed.
At least 42 churches and multiple Coptic businesses and homes were targeted across Egypt by Muslim Brotherhood supporters after the Egyptian military used force to break up protestors in Cairo demanding Morsi’s reinstatement.
The deposed president’s adherents were angered by Coptic Christians’ open support for the military intervention against Morsi led by General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi – who’s now himself Egyptian president.