Matrouh Criminal Court has adjourned to 22 May the case of the murder of the Copt Rany Ra’fat. Mr Ra’fat was murdered by six men in April 2022 in the city of Dabaa in the coastal governorate of Maria Matrouh west of Egypt.
The defence of the main defendant, Faisal Abdel-Nasser Talban, had claimed that he was mentally deranged, but the court ordered that he should be placed under observation and investigation by public mental health authorities. This week, they pronounced Mr Talban sane and accountable for his actions.
Matrouh prosecution had in December 2022 referred six men to criminal court, charged with premeditated murder of the Copt Rany Ra’fat Nour Khalil.
The Copt was a 28-year-old engineer who worked as a teacher, and was shot to death by masked armed men in the town Dabaa. The men then set his car on fire.
Mr Ra’fat worked at a school in Dabaa, and owned a shop on the ground floor of his house. The day he was shot he received a phone call following which he opened his shop. A Hyundai Verna private car stopped by; some two or three masked men inside opened fire on him, firing more than 18 shots that left him dead on the spot.
The masked men fled to al-Dabaa regional road, then set fire on the car they had used to shoot the young Copt.
The main defendant, a young man called Faisal Abdel-Nasser Talban, had at the time of the crime posted video footage on social media claiming he had killed the Copt Rany Ra’fat.
In the video footage, Mr Talban says he killed the Christian even though he never knew him, because he heard the young Copt was friends with Muslim women. He described the Christian as “mushrik bi-llah”, that is someone who worships other gods besides Allah [an allegation that Christians worship more than one god because they believe in the Trinity], and said he did this following a reading of the Qur’an that “put my heart on fire”. He repeatedly said it was unacceptable for a mushrik who doesn’t believe in Allah’s Prophet to liaise with Muslim women. Again, he stressed that he never knew the young Copt or the women he was said to have been friends with, but that he killed him on a personal conviction without being pushed to do so by anyone.
Beaming, Mr Taliban three times swore by Allah that he was very happy he had killed the Dabaa Christian for the sake of the “Nation of Muhammad”, and that this is what the Qur’an taught him to do. “I have no problem to hand myself over; I did this all on my own, no one told me to do so. I wholeheartedly killed that Christian because I am faithful to Allah,” he said.
23 March 2023
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