CAIRO: The Emergency State Security Criminal Court in Qena on Tuesday adjourned to June 19 the trial of the Naga Hammadi drive-by shooting case, which left six Copts and a Muslim guard dead on Jan. 6.
After hearing prosecution testimonies, the court requested that Bishop Kirollos, who heads the church in the area, to testify. It also requested the submission to court of the police file created when the case was first reported as well as the suspects’ arrest documents.
On Monday, the two main prosecution witnesses in the trial of the Naga Hammadi shooting, testified that they saw the main suspect randomly shooting at people outside the Church on the eve of Coptic Christmas.
The three main suspects, Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed Hassan (known as Hamam El-Kamouni), Qurashi Aboul Haggag and Hendawi Mohamed Sayed Hassan were present at the court.
Journalists weren’t allowed inside the courtroom during the hearings, and were only permitted to attend the announcement of the court’s decision to adjourn the hearing.
The defense team reportedly called for restricting prosecution witnesses to two Muslim men, the head of the forensic team and the police officer directly responsible for the case, while excluding the testimonies of 14 Coptic witnesses.
According to lawyers who attended the hearing on Monday, the court only listened to the two Muslim witnesses: a low-ranking policeman Osama Mohamed and a barber named Mohamed Mahmoud (also known as Hesham El-Hallaq).
Ishaq Ibrahim, a lawyer affiliated with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights who attended the hearings as a monitor, told Daily News Egypt that both witnesses said they knew El-Kamouni personally.
Mohamed, the first witness, said that he was driving a taxi when he saw El-Kamouni shoot randomly. This led to the death of three passengers, two Copts: Mina Helmy and Rafiq Rasmy, and a Muslim, Ayman Hamed. El-Hallaq who was also in the cab confirmed the testimony.
The two witnesses identified El-Kamouni as the shooter. They both said Aboul-Haggag was standing beside El-Kamouni but they didn’t see him shoot at anyone. Both witnesses didn’t recognize the third suspect, Hassan.
On Tuesday, Head of the Naga Hammadi Investigation Bureau who was responsible for the case, said that the three suspects had confessed during investigations of committing the crime. He said they attributed it to the alleged rape of a Muslim girl by a Copt a couple of months earlier in Farshout. The rape case is still being tried in court.
Hegazy told the court that his investigations revealed that that the two incidents were unrelated.
After the hearing on Tuesday, the defense team was reportedly deliberating filing a request to the court not to hear Bishop Kirollos’ testimony, since he was already questioned during the investigations and he is not an eye-witness.