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CAIRO (AP) — A court docket within the Egyptian metropolis of Alexandria started the trial Saturday of a person accused of stabbing to death a Coptic Christian priest, an assault that shocked the Arab world’s most populous nation.

The case dates to early April when Arsanious Wadid, a 56-year-old priest, was killed at fashionable seaside promenade within the Mediterranean metropolis.

Nehru Tawfiq appeared earlier than judges at a packed courtroom Saturday in Alexandria, within the first session of his trial. He denied the accusations.

Protection legal professionals, of their preliminary argument, stated that the assault was not a “deliberate” one.

The court docket’s high choose, Wahid Sabry, additionally questioned witnesses concerning the assault. One witness stated the suspect stabbed the priest “because he was a Christian,” and tried to assault bystanders after they intervened.

When judges requested the witness to acknowledge the suspect, he walked over to the defendants cage the place the suspect was being held and recognized him, in accordance with a livestreaming on Fb.

Prosecutors demanded the utmost punishment for the suspect, which could possibly be a dying sentence if he is convicted.

Sectarian violence shouldn’t be unusual in Egypt. Islamic extremists have additionally focused Christians in recent times, particularly following the 2013 army ouster of an elected however divisive Islamist president.

In September 2017, an alleged Islamic State supporter stabbed to dying an 82-year-old Christian physician in Cairo. He was sentenced to dying the next 12 months.

Egypt’s Copts, the Center East’s largest Christian neighborhood, have repeatedly complained of discrimination. They account for about 10 % of Egypt’s over 103 million individuals.

On the finish of the hourslong court docket session, judges determined to adjourn the trial till Might 18, when prosecutors and protection legal professionals will proceed their arguments.

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