The family of the Coptic conscript Bahaa’ Gamal who was performing his military service in Menoufiya in the mid-Delta, was informed by the military authorities that their son shot himself dead in camp. He died of two shots in the chest, they were told. The family headed from their hometown in the Upper Egyptian city of Assuit and took the body of their son for burial.
According to lawyer and Coptic activist Hany Ramsis, the incident arouses many questions. Bahaa’ Gamal was known among his family and friends as a bright, joyful young man of integrity, vivid and full of life. News of his suicide came as a shock. He had studied music and played in church, and for friends. His fellow-conscripts say he appeared to be a kind, decent, well-balanced person.
“This is the fourth case of suicide among Coptic conscripts in the space of a few months,” Mr Ramsis says. “The family was told his death was suicide, but we know nothing of any investigation. How can someone shoot himself twice? And in the chest? We need a medical report that says this is possible.
“When I asked his fellow conscripts they merely replied that it was his fate to die that way. But no one could give us a sensible testimony of what happened.”
23 February 2016