Lawyer says Egyptian government stalls investigation of cathedral blast
Five months post former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, the perpetrators of the bombing of Two Saints Church, Alexandria, last New Year’s Eve remain unknown–and the government seems to stall its investigation.
The suspects who were arrested shortly after the bombing have been released, and there is a prohibition against publishing information about the bombing that continues to be in force since January, even after Mubarak stepped down the following month.
On New Year’s Eve, a bomb was lobbed onto the front lawn of Two Saints Church, a landmark cathedral, while a service was ongoing. Some 25 died, and 100 were injured. (See http://theundergroundsite.com/index.php/2011/01/egyptian-coptic-church-bomb-kills-21-wounds-79-14956/).
Speculation contends there may be links between the bombing of the church, and threats that were sent to the Coptic Church eight hours before the blast. Murmurs abound that the Salafists and the State Security collaborated in the bombings.
“[The] majority of Copts believe … the Salafists in collaboration with State Security carried out the bombings of the Alexandria Church,” activist Edward Fahmy told AINA.
Heightening suspicions that State Security was complicit is the fact that the security personnel and officers who were assigned to the church were not at their posts when the blast occurred.
Joseph Malak, attorney for the Coptic cathedral, said in a press conference at the Church of St. Mark in Alexandria that they have filed a case requesting that former interior minister Habib al-Adli is questioned about the incident.
They also asked in their lawsuit that reasons be disclosed as to why the suspects were released, and seek cancellation of the ban on publication about the bomb blast, which had been imposed since January.
The lawsuit also seeks to require that the investigations are completed by the Ministers of Justice and Interior, and that the perpetrators are sentenced as quickly as possible.
Malak said in the press conference that the lawsuit names the president of the Council of Ministers, the Attorney General and the Interior Minister. It demands the reopening of the case.
For some time, a long list of affidavits had been submitted to these government officials, and relatives of the victims have expressed willingness to testify. However, the government has not responded.
In the press conference which took place at the church’s Egyptian Center for Development Studies and Human Rights last Sunday, Malak said, “We will demand the Attorney General to take determined action to complete the investigation into the case and to speed up detection of the perpetrators and bring them to trial,” AINA reported.
Appeal to media
Also present at the press conference was the pastor of Two Saints Church, Father Makkar Fawzi, who appealed to media for help. “You are our last resort, we have talked with many officials without any answer.”
Rev. Abraham Emil of St. Mark Church said at the press conference that the government of Egypt has the capability to find the perpetrators, adding that the families of the victims are Egyptians, too. “They have the same rights as victims of the Revolution.”