Egypt refers man accused of killing Coptic priest to trial

CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian prosecutors Tuesday referred a man to trial for allegedly stabbing to death a Coptic Christian priest in an attack that shocked the Arab World’s most populous country.

The public prosecution said in a statement the suspect was accused of killing the priest earlier this month at the popular seaside promenade in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria. He was also accused of illegal possession of a knife used in the attack, it said.

No date was set for the trial . The suspect could face a death sentence if convicted.

The Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria identified the priest as Arsanious Wadid, 56, who served at a local parish.

Sectarian violence is not uncommon in Egypt. Islamic extremists have also targeted Christians in recent years, especially following the 2013 military ouster of an Islamist but elected president amid mass protests against his divisive rule.

In September 2017, an alleged Islamic State supporter stabbed to death an 82-year-old Christian doctor in Cairo. He was sentenced to death the following year.

Egypt’s Copts, the Middle East’s largest Christian community, have repeatedly complained of discrimination. They account for about 10 percent of Egypt’s over 103 million people.

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