Three Muslim men who stripped an elderly Christian woman naked and dragged her through an Egyptian village over rumours that her son was having an affair with a Muslim woman have been acquitted by a court in Egypt.
Soad Thabet, now 74, was attacked in 2016. She was paraded naked by a mob of vigilantes in Al-Karm. The attack was accompanied by the burning of Coptic Christian homes and villagers angrily calling for Christians, who are the religious minority, to be expelled.
The three defendants – a father and his two sons – were initially sentenced to 10 years in prison but they were acquitted after a re-trial.
Local Coptic newspaper Watani reported Thabet was distraught upon hearing the verdict.
Human rights group Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) condemned the verdict in a statement urging the public prosecution to lodge an appeal.
Christians have long complained of discrimination in Egypt, and in recent years ISIS has also targeted churches, killing dozens.
Inter-faith relationships, or claims that they are happening, are often a source of tension between the religious communities.
In Thabet’s case, her son Ashraf Abdo Attia was accused of having an affair with the Muslim wife of his former business partner. They both denied this.