Egypt issues suspended sentence to 19 over church attack
CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court has sentenced 19 Muslim defendants to a one-year suspended sentence for attacking an unlicensed church south of Cairo.
Wednesday’s sentence was handed down in Atfih misdemeanor court. The defendants will not have to serve prison time unless they get into trouble again.
Separately, a Coptic Christian defendant was fined 360,000 Egyptian pounds (about $20,383) for setting up the unlicensed church.
The incident took place Dec. 22 when dozens of demonstrators gathered outside the building and stormed it. They destroyed the church’s contents and assaulted Christians inside before security forces arrived and dispersed them.
The church in Giza outside the capital Cairo has yet to be sanctioned by the state but has held prayers for 15 years.
Christians constitute around 10 percent of Egypt’s predominantly Muslim population.