Murder, Mass Detention
and Torture in Egypt
Crackdown Follows Murder
of Two Christians by Muslims
Press Release: Sept. 22, 1998
Christian Solidarity Worldwide

Hundreds of innocent Christians, including young women and 
children, have been indiscriminately detained and tortured by the 
Egyptian Security Forces. The crackdown followed the murder of 
two Christians by Muslims on August 14 1998 in Kesk, a village in 
the Dar Assalam region of Egypt.

The murder victims, Sammer Hakkem, 25, and Karam Tamer 27, 
were found murdered in the village. The killers were identified as 
three Muslims from a nearby village, and a local bishop reported 
the matter to the head of the security forces in the area. To the 
astonishment of local Christians no effort was made to bring the 
killers to justice and instead the state security forces arrested 
hundreds of Christians.

This indiscriminate roundup of innocent Christians continued until 
the first week of September. According to a church leader in 
Egypt, the total number of people arrested may have reached 1000. 

Some of those arrested were severely tortured by the security 
Forces. Individuals were given electric shocks, whipped and hung 
upside down. An 11 year old boy, Romani Boctor, was tied to the 
ceiling fan and the fan was switched on. Some of those arrested 
were left hanging from the ceiling all night. 

It is reported that security personnel shouted abuse at Christians, 
naming them as infidels and cursing the Egyptian Coptic patriarch, 
Pope Shenouda. 

These recent incidents of persecution of Christians by the Egyptian 
authorities has naturally caused great concern among the Coptic 
community in Egypt. Although the local priest, Gibrail Masih, 
urged the Egyptian Centre for Human Rights to take up the case, 
no action has been taken. Campaigns from Western human rights 
organisations have led to the release of those wrongfully detained, 
but it seems that the authorities are reluctant to take any action 
against the security force personnel responsible for these heinous 
crimes. 

Dr Simon Qadri adds, "CSW is very concerned by this incident and 
unequivocally condemns the active involvement of the Egyptian 
authorities in the persecution of Christians in Egypt. We urge the 
Egyptian government to honour its commitment to the UN 
Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or 
Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which it is a signatory, by 
taking immediate action against these errant officers. We will be 
taking this matter up at the UN. Our sympathy goes out at this time 
to all those individuals who have suffered as a result of these 
incidents." 

For further information and campaign details please contact Dr 
Simon Qadri at the CSW Office at +44 0181 942 8810


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