Four Coptic Christians Detained for St. Marks Cathedral Attack in Egypt

In the wake of the attack on Coptic Christians attending a funeral at St. Mark's Cathedral in Cairo, an Egyptian Oppositions Court judge decided that four Christians should remain in detention for 15 days pending an investigation into who participated in the attack.

Amir Nassif, an attorney for the accused Copts, expressed disbelief at the ruling, given that recordings taken from the attack show security forces had in fact attacked the cathedral.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide stated that it appeared that the four Christians were detained for the sole reason of being at the cathedral during the attack, according to the Coptic Maspero Youth Union.

The four men were among hundreds of people who attended the funeral at St. Mark's Cathedral for several Coptic men who were killed in sectarian violence in Khosous a few days previous. The town is only 10 miles from Cairo.

"These arrests come at a time when the Coptic community in Egypt is still coming to terms with an unprecedented attack on the headquarters of the Coptic Orthodox Church and the violence in Khosous," Andrew Johnston, Advocacy Director at CSW, said in a statement.

"Two Copts were killed during the attack on the Cathedral; four more died in Khosous, yet not one of their attackers has been arrested. Such discrepancies in the discharge of justice contribute to impunity, and can only foster more sectarianism," he added.

Local reports indicate that as mourners left the funeral they were hit with rocks, petrol bombs, and Molotov cocktails. The attack forced the funeral goers to seek cover inside the cathedral. The violence went unimpeded for hours as security forces stood idly by as aggressors threw objects from the roofs of surrounding buildings and by people who had climbed the walls of the Cathedral.