(Hasan Jamali/ Associated Press ) – An Egyptian street vendor sells fruits in front of a wall filled with defaced posters of presidential candidates in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, May, 21, 2012. The May 23-24 presidential election is the first since last year’s ouster of longtime authoritarian ruler Hosni Mubarak.
By Associated Press, Published: May 21
The Christians were found guilty of sowing public strife, the possession of illegal weapons and shooting dead two Muslims in April of last year in Minya province, about 220 kilometers (135 miles) south of Cairo.
The religious tension in Minya spilled over into violence last year when a Muslim microbus driver, angered by a speed bump outside a wealthy Christian man’s villa, got into a scuffle with security guards who beat him.
After returning to his village of Abu Qurqas that evening, he rounded up the villagers who then gathered outside an ultraconservative Islamist group’s main office there to protest his beating. According to rights researcher Ishak Ibrahim, the Christians nearby thought they were going to be attacked and shot from their rooftops down at the crowd, killing two and wounding two others.
For several days after, angry villagers torched dozens of Christian homes and stores.