The death of the 21-year old engineering graduate Sherif Adel Habib in a fire in London has left Egyptians horrified and devastated.
The British Embassy in Cairo said on Wednesday it is “closely following” the case.
In an official statement, the embassy said it is “working with the Egyptian government in London and Cairo.
“The Metropolitan police are now working quickly to determine the circumstances of this man’s death. The UK government will be in close contact with the MFA and the Egyptian consulate in London today to receive and respond to any specific requests from the Egyptian authorities and the family,” an embassy spokesperson said.
University of Greenwich’s 21-year-old mechanical engineering graduate Habib was rescued from a garage blaze in Cranleigh Gardens, Southall, during the early hours of Monday and was taken to a specialist burns hospital in Essex, where he was then pronounced dead.
According to the Metropolitan Police, a man in 20s was arrested “on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life.”
He has been bailed to a date in mid-June pending further enquiries.
“Further information about the investigation will remain a matter for the Metropolitan Police, under the requirements of UK law and the approach necessary to maximise the chances of achieving justice in the courts in this case,” the UK embassy said.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry has been closely following the matter with UK authorities.
For its part, the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom issued a statement in which it said:
“During this Holy Week, our whole community is shocked and saddened by the news of the departure of one of our young men, Sherif Habib. His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, called personally to convey his condolences to Sherif’s family and the Coptic community in London. His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, accompanied by Father Thomas Ghobrial, made a pastoral visit to the family yesterday.”
Speaking after his visit with Sherif’s parents, Bishop Angaelos said:“The loss of any life brings sadness, but the loss of a young man who had just completed his studies and was embarking on the next stage of his life is especially tragic. We pray repose for Sherif and comfort for his family, who are understandably experiencing great pain at this time, as well as for his friends and wider community. We are also reminded during this Holy Week, and as we approach the Feast of the Resurrection, that our hope is in the Risen Lord, and so we pray that He comfort Sherif’s family and all who mourn this tragic loss.”
“Their Excellencies TheEgyptian Ambassador to the United Kingdom and the Consul-General in London have visited the family to express their condolences. Egyptian officials in London were initially contacted by a priest of one of our London parishes at the request of the family.
“Due to the ongoing official investigation by the Metropolitan Police Service in London, there are no further details at this time.
“At this difficult time and in this period of mourning, press and media are asked to respect the privacy of the family.”
28 April 2016