It was a brutal public execution that shocked and angered the world. And now men linked to it have been sentenced:
An Egyptian court Saturday condemned to death seven people for membership of the Islamic State group and over the beheading in Libya of 21 Christians, all but one of them from Egypt, judicial officials said.
ISIS in Libya posted a video on the internet in February 2015 of the gruesome beheadings on a Libyan beach, sparking international condemnation and Egyptian air strikes against jihadist targets in the neighboring Arab state.
Of the seven defendants, three were sentenced to death in absentia, the officials said. An unspecified number of those condemned were accused of having taken part in the beheadings.
Death sentences in Egypt are subject to review by the country’s mufti as the official interpreter of Islamic law, although his verdict is not legally binding.
Prosecutors accused the seven suspects of membership of an IS cell in Marsa Matruh, northwest Egypt, and of planning attacks after having received military training at jihadist camps in Libya and Syria.
Rulings are to be issued on November 25 against 13 others on trial in the same case.
Some may remember this icon of the Coptic martyrs, created by Egyptian American artist Tony Rezk. Holy martyrs of Libya, pray for us!
Aleteia’s John Burger also interviewed Nikola Saric, who wrote this extraordinary icon in tribute to the martyrs:
From the interview:
Is there some thought of perhaps the person viewing the icon, praying with the icon, to be praying for the conversion of the executioners?
I think that would be the right thing, to be praying for everyone. We do pray for our enemies and someone who is doing evil against us. We are invited to pray for everyone. If that is the case I would be glad if that also happens—if any of the executioners would change his mind and feel sorry and repent of what they did.