The family of the 70-year-old Coptic woman Suad Thabet, who had been stripped naked and beaten by a Salafi mob in May 2016, announced that it will no longer talk to or appear in the media, and that its defence team was taking the necessary legal proceedings to reopen investigations in the case after it was dismissed by the prosecution some two weeks ago. In a statement issued this morning, the family said they had already made enough effort to make their voice heard to the public and to President Sisi himself, and thanked all those who supported them during their dilemma, and urged for continued support.
Ms Thabet had been attacked last May at her home in the village of al-Karm in Minya, some 250km south of Cairo, in the wake of a rumour that her 30-year-old son, Ashraf Attiya, was having an affair with a Muslim woman from the village. It is taboo for a Christian man to liaise with a Muslim woman. The rumour led to an attack against the village Copts during which seven Coptic-owned houses were destroyed, and at the end of which Ms Thabet was dragged out of her home, stripped and beaten. The Muslim woman’s husband, Nazeer Ishaq, led the attack against Ms Thabet and her husband after their son fled the village. [http://en.wataninet.com/coptic-affairs-coptic-affairs/sectarian/pope-tawadros-rule-of-law-must-prevail/16531/]
The May 2016 incident gave rise to four legal cases. The first concerned the stripping and beating incident in which Nazeer Ishaq was the main defendant. The second concerned the burning of the seven Coptic-owned houses during the mob attack last May; 25 villagers are charged with arson. The third concerned a demand for EGP1 million in compensation demanded by Ishaq from Ashraf Attiya, Ms Thabet’s son, for the moral damages caused to his family and reputation because of Attiya’s ‘adulterous relation’ with Ishaq’s wife—he later divorced her. The fourth legal case is against two detectives form Abu-Qurqas police station who had at one point changed Ms Thabet’s testimony, but the matter was directly spotted and legal proceedings were taken against them by the prosecution.
On 14 January, Minya prosecution dismissed the case because of insufficient evidence, owing to the fact that several witnesses had gone back on their testimonies. According to Ihab Ramzy, the lawyer who represents Ms Thabet, the witnesses changed their testimonies under pressure and threats from the Salafis in the village, among whom is Ishaq.
The statement issued this morning by Ms Thabet’s family said that persisting in accusing their son Ashraf of having an illicit affair with the wife of the main suspect, Nazeer Ishaq, was in itself a means of pressuring Ms Thabet and the village’s Copts into conciliating with their assaulters.
25 January 2016