05 February 2023

Three men on trial for attack on elderly Christian in Egypt acquitted on appeal

Seven years after being brutally attacked before a mob of 300 people, an elderly Christian woman’s search for justice goes on after three men were acquitted on trial.

Suad Thabet is still waiting to get justice for the attack she suffered in 2016 

Three Egyptian men who were on trial for the horrifying attack on an elderly Christian woman in 2016 have been acquitted on appeal.

Suad Thabet was 70 years old when a mob of approximately 300 men attacked the Christian community in Al-Karm, Minya Governorate, in response to a rumour that her son had an affair with a divorced Muslim woman. Suad was dragged into the street where she was beaten and stripped naked. Her husband, 79-year-old Abdu Ayad, was also beaten.

In June 2021, a court handed down prison sentences to ten men for taking part in the sectarian violence, in which properties of Christians were destroyed. Six months later, three other men were acquitted of attacking Suad. 

“Where is the justice?”

“I waited so long for justice,” said Suad at the time. “I was beaten and stripped completely naked. They torched my home and I was displaced from the village. My sons had to leave Egypt as they couldn’t stay after what happened. I stayed waiting for justice for all those long years. Where is the justice? I feel shocked.” 

The case went to appeal, but on 9 January 2023 the Court of Cassation, Egypt’s highest court, dismissed it. The court only looks at the legal aspects of the case and not the facts. Its verdict is final.  

Suad’s story is symptomatic of the lack of serious law enforcement in Egypt and the unwillingness of local authorities to protect Christians. This adds to their vulnerability and is a factor in the country being number 35 on the World Watch List

  • That Suad’s cry for justice will be heeded by the authorities, despite this setback
  • That Suad and her family will draw enormous comfort from God’s peace and presence
  • That the authorities in Egypt, both local and national, will be stirred into providing greater protection for Christians.
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Find out more about Egypt, and other countries in the top 50 of the World Watch List, with our Top 50 booklet which includes stories, prayer requests and an overview of trends from the latest World Watch List report.

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