Christians living in Libya have been rounded up, beaten and accused of proselytising, in the latest evidence of a militant Islamic movement gripping the country since the revolution.
The men, Egyptian Copts working in Benghazi, were seized by an Islamist militia but handed over to the government. One, named as Ezzat Atallah (44) died at the weekend after allegedly being tortured, his brother, Effat, said.
The authorities have condemned an attack on the community’s priest, but in a sign of their powerlessness in the face of sectarian violence, have taken no further action. After the death of Mr Atallah, four men remain in custody out of 60 detained, while 35 of the remainder have been deported on the grounds of illegal immigration.
Ragaa Nagah, the wife of one of the four incarcerated men, Emad Seddeek, said: “When I visited him he was in a pitiful condition. He was afraid to tell us how he was tortured, but he couldn’t see out of one of his eyes.
“They were standing over him and beating him while they asked him to confess and when they were about to give him an electric shock he said, ‘Don’t do that and I will say anything you want me to say’.”
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