A Cairo Criminal court released a tentative death penalty verdict against the defendant in the case of Coptic priest Samaan Shehata’s murder.
The decision was released during the second trial, and the case has been referred to the Grand Mufti for a non-binding opinion. Another session will be held on 15 January to release the final verdict.
The public prosecution accused the defendant, 19, of having a previous intent to murder the priest.
The defendant reportedly admitted his crime and said that he didn’t know the priest personally. However, when he saw him with his uniform, he decided to kill him.
Shehata, from Beni Sueif governorate, was killed in October after he had been attacked by the defendant, according to a statement released by the Coptic Orthodox Media Center at the time.
The victim was on a visit to Cairo with another Coptic priest who is reportedly injured, due to the stabbing attack that took place in el-Salam city, Cairo.
The attacks against Christians in Egypt have significantly increased over the past few months, leaving tens of killed Copts and hundreds injured.
About 54 incidents have occurred against the religious minority in Egypt in 2016, according to the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.