Monk’s death sentence commuted to life for murder of bishop at Egyptian monastery

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A monk’s death sentence for the murder of a bishop at an Egyptian monastery in 2018 was commuted to life in prison by a Cairo court on Wednesday, a judicial source said.

Wael Saad and Ramon Rasmi Mansour, known by their monastic names Isaiah al-Makari and Faltaous al-Makari, were convicted of the killing of Bishop Epiphanius, 64, the abbot of St Macarius Monastery, some 110 km (70 miles) northwest of Cairo, in a case that sent shockwaves through Egypt’s Coptic Christian community.

Saad struck the bishop three times in the back of the head with a steel pipe while Mansour stood guard outside, prosecutors had said during their trial.

Mansour’s sentence was reduced to life in prison after he appealed against his death sentence, the judicial source said. Saad’s death sentence was upheld by the court hearing the appeal.

The death sentence requires the president’s authorisation before it is carried out, a standard procedure under Egyptian law, the source added.

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Separately, a Cairo court of cassation also reduced by three years the 10-year sentence handed down to an officer convicted of the killing of liberal activist Shaimaa al-Sabbagh in a 2015 protest marking the anniversary of the uprising that ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011, two judicial sources said.

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