Christian Persecution Nov/Dec 2017

EGYPT—Three Egyptian military officers recently beat a Christian soldier to death for his faith and then claimed he died of natural causes.

Joseph Reda Helmy, a believer from Kafr Darwish village, had completed one month of military training when he was transferred to his unit. Upon his arrival, three officers found out about his Christian faith and killed him immediately, according to Helmy’s relatives.

The Ministry of Interior called Helmy’s cousin, Youssef Zarif, to come retrieve the body. When Zarif arrived, the army told him Helmy had died of an epileptic seizure; but his body bore signs of a violent death. Bruises covered his head, shoulders, neck, back, and genitalia.

Zarif refused to believe the army’s explanation, claiming Helmy had been a healthy young man and that his bruises did not resemble those of an epileptic episode.

Refusing to bow to the army’s pressure, the doctor who examined the body also determined the death was not due to natural causes. The prosecutor concurred and demanded an official investigation, which revealed the three officers harassed and killed Helmy because of his Christian faith by kicking him with their boots and hitting him with heavy instruments.

A Christian leader from Helmy’s home village told Morning Star News that villagers are mourning his martyr’s death. “Many women are wearing black, a sign of mourning for the death of one of their Coptic youth. Many are sharing the graphic pictures of the bruised body of Joseph Reda Helmy, a new draftee doing his military service,” he said.

Sadly, Helmy is not the only Egyptian soldier who has died for his faith. Several others have been killed while serving in Egypt’s military.

Last year, the military informed the family of 22-year-old Michael Gamel Mansour that he had committed suicide by shooting himself with a rifle. Authorities claimed he had become despondent after a telephone conversation with his family.

But Mansour’s family said he had exhibited no signs of suicide, left no suicide note, and that the telephone call was about innocuous issues. Mansour was the third Christian soldier in nine months whom the Egyptian government claimed committed suicide.

In November 2015, the Egyptian military told Nataay Boushra his son, Bishoy Nataay Boushra, had committed suicide in the bathroom of a military jail cell. Boushra was incarcerated for defending himself against the repeated attacks by a Muslim soldier.

For months before he retaliated, Boushra endured threats, violence, intense verbal abuse, and public humiliation for his faith, Boushra’s father said. When Boushra finally picked up a stick to defend himself, he and his attacker landed in jail.

Three weeks later, Nataay learned his son had died. Boushra’s family refused to believe the government’s story, claiming Boushra had been a devout Christian who believed suicide was a grave sin. Furthermore, he had exhibited no signs of depression.

The military officially ruled on Boushra’s death before it even conducted an autopsy. Later, when the family retrieved Boushra’s body, they demanded an autopsy. The examination revealed ligature marks consistent with a hanging or strangling death and huge bruises and welts on his torso from sustained, brutal beatings.

Egypt ranks 21st on Open Doors’ 2017 World Watch List of the 50 countries where Christians experience the worst persecution.

by Morning Star News
To read the full report, go to Morningstarnews.org.

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