Skip to content


A court in the Egyptian city of Alexandria on Saturday opened the trial of a man accused of stabbing a Coptic Christian priest to death, an attack that shocked the Arab world’s most populous country

CAIRO — A court in the Egyptian city of Alexandria on Saturday opened the trial of a man accused of stabbing a Coptic Christian priest to death, an attack that shocked the Arab world’s most populous country.

The case dates back to early April when Arsanious Wadid, a 56-year-old priest, was killed on the Mediterranean town’s popular seaside promenade.

Prosecutors charged the suspect with stabbing the cleric to death. The suspect appeared before judges in a crowded courtroom in Alexandria on Saturday, in the first session of his trial. He denied the charges.

Defense attorneys, in their opening argument, said the attack was not “deliberate”.

The court’s top judge, Wahid Sabry, also questioned witnesses about the attack. A witness said the suspect stabbed the priest ‘because he was a Christian’ and tried to attack bystanders when they intervened.

When judges asked the witness to recognize the suspect, he walked to the defendants’ cage where the suspect was being held and identified him, according to a Facebook live stream.

Prosecutors have demanded the maximum sentence for the suspect, which could be the death penalty if convicted.

Sectarian violence is not uncommon in Egypt. Islamic extremists have also targeted Christians in recent years, particularly after the military ousting in 2013 of an elected but divisive Islamist president.

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

Copts in Egypt, the largest Christian community in the Middle East, have repeatedly complained of discrimination. They make up about 10% of Egypt’s more than 103 million people.

ABC News

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.