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The man who stabbed a Coptic priest in Egypt has been sentenced to death

The convicted killer of Archbishop Arsanious Wadid in Alexandria, Egypt, was sentenced to death earlier this month, according to Copts-United.


Nehru Abdel Moneim Tawfiq was sentenced to death on June 11 after a long session in which the 22nd District Alexandria Criminal Court headed by Waheed Sabry watched surveillance camera video of the murder that took place on the boardwalk near Ishak Helmy beach, Copts-United reported. The verdict came after the court reportedly referred his case to the Mufti of the Republic for an Islamic legal opinion.

Wadid, priest of the Virgin and St. Paul Church in Alexandria, was distributing Ramadan gifts on the promenade to passers-by with a group of youths from his church on April 7 when the assailant stabbed him at least three times in the neck with a knife, according to local press reports. He was 56.

Leaders of both the historical church in Egypt and Islam had played down a religious motive in an attempt to prevent escalation, though Tawfiq shouted the jihadist slogan “Allah Akbar [Allah is greater]” as he stabbed Wadid, an eyewitness testified at the trial, according to Copts-United. She said Tawfiq hovered around the area for 10 minutes before targeting Wadid because of his priestly garments.

Islamist assailants in Egypt frequently resort to “mental instability” as a legal defense for murder, and Tawfiq asserted that his unstable mental state rendered him unable to control his actions, according to news outlet Ahram Online. Initially Tawfiq made no effort to hide, witnesses testified, and police said he confessed to intentionally killing the priest, but he later claimed that he was not aware of what he was doing and had obtained the knife only for self-defense.


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