The General Prosecution referred 240 defendants to military tribunals over charges of storming a church and the police station in Minya, state media reported.
The incident took place in August 2013 after the violent dispersal of the pro-Morsi sit-ins in Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda Squares.
What followed the dispersals was a series of retaliations that varied from attacks on Coptic Christians, police officers, and unarmed civilians. The majority of attacks on churches took place in Upper Egypt.
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) released a report last year describing the attacks. The report said that “43 churches came under attack. Of these, 27 of were looted and burned almost or entirely to the ground, while 13 churches were partially looted and their doors and windows vandalised or destroyed; shots were fired at three churches. The attacks also struck seven schools and six Christian associations, including two medical centres and an orphanage.”
Referring citizens to military courts has been a common practice since the 25 January Revolution. It has increased after President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi issued a decree which expanded the jurisdiction of military courts to include anyone who attacks the state’s “vital” facilities.
Among the facilities “protected…against terrorist attacks” by the new law are “stations, power networks and towers, gas and oil fields, rail lines, road networks, bridges”, according to the presidential statement.
The decree took effect starting 28 October 2014, and scores of defendants were referred to military courts.