Cairo, 11 March 2013:
Dozens of protesting Egyptian Copts threw stones at the Libyan Embassy in Cairo on this afternoon, Monday, and smashed the entrance following claims that an Egyptian Christian arrested in Benghazi on charges of Christian evangelization had been tortured and killed in jail yesterday, Sunday.
The Libyan news agency LANA reported that a source at the embassy said that protesters had also destroyed CCTV cameras at the building in Cairo’s fashionable Zamalek district burned the Libyan flag and and tore off the name plate attached to the embassy main gate.
The source added out that the protesters, who clashed with embassy security guards, refused to leave the area in front of the building, demanding to see the Libyan ambassador.
Earlier, a Coptic Christian lawyer Naguib Guebrayel from the Egyptian Union for Human Rights, claimed that 45-year-old Ezzat Hakim Attallah had “died after being tortured with other detainees” in Benghazi.
Guebrayel accused the Egyptian government of failing to intervene on behalf of the Egyptians arrested in Libya.
Attallah’s family were among the protestors.
Diplomatic sources in Egypt, however, are reported saying say that Attallah, a diabetic who had had heart surgery, died of natural causes while in jail.
At the end of February, some 50 Egyptian Copts working in a market were arrested in Benghazi and accused of being missionaries. They were reportedly mistreated by militants before being taken into the care of the Ministry of the Interior. The accusation against most was then dropped amid reports that it was made out of spite by fellow Egyptian market workers. Around 35 were then deported on the grounds of being in the country illegally. In the meantime, though, the Coptic church in Benghazi was attacked by Salafists and its priest and his assistant assaulted.
The government condemned the attack.
In December, two Egyptians were killed in a bomb attack on the Coptic Church at Misrata.