Egyptian Christian dies in
Benghazi whilst in custody of Muslim extremistsThe cause of death of Evangelical Christian Ezzat Hakim
Attalah remains unclear. The 45-year-old man was arrested on 28 February along
with five other Egyptians on charges of distributing religious material. More
than 50 Egyptian Copts arrive home after weeks in Salafist hands. They complain
about harassment and torture.
Evangelical Christian died after spending ten days in a Benghazi jail. Ezzat
Hakim Attalah (pictured), a 45-year-old father of two, was arrested on 28
February along with five fellow Evangelicals on charges of proselytising, Middle
East Christian News Agency (MCN-Direct) reported.
Egyptian Foreign Ministry sources said that
Attalah, who suffered from diabetes and heart ailments, died of natural causes.
Speaking to MCN-Direct, Attalah's wife Ragaa Abdullah Guirguis said that he died
because of the pressures and torture by Libyan prison guards. She said that she
would seek the help of international lawyers to establish the real cause of his
The case of the Egyptian Evangelical Christian in
Libya is symptomatic of the tragic fate of Christians in Libya, victims of
Salafist groups that control the country's Cyrenaica region.
Last week, extremists imprisoned more than 50
Coptic pedlars for allegedly showing icons and other religious material on their
Reports about the event went viral worldwide when
Libyan activists posted a video about the incident, which Libyan police
Once they arrived home, the Coptic pedlars
complained of beatings and torture at the hands of Muslim extremists who used
acid to remove traditional Coptic tattoos representing crosses and other
Christian symbols from their hands, chest and forehead.
Since Gaddafi's fall, the number of attacks
against foreign residents has increased, mostly against Egyptians, especially
Catholic and Orthodox Copts.
Last month, four foreigners from Egypt, South
Africa, South Korea and a Swede with a US passport were arrested for allegedly
circulating Bibles and other religious material. They are currently in a Tripoli
jail waiting for trial.
Catholic religious orders have also been targeted
by Muslim groups despite operating in the country for decades in hospitals and
In January, Islamists forced the Franciscan
Sisters of the Infant Jesus to leave the city of Barca. The same thing happened
to the Ursuline Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the city of
In October, the Sisters of the Convent of the
Sacred Family of Spoleto were forced out of Derna even though local residents
wanted them to stay.