Joseph Helmy was an Egyptian Christian who joined the Egyptian military. Upon learning that he was a Christian, his fellow soldiers and army officers beat the new recruit to death according to a recent report:

Egyptian military officers beat a new soldier to death on July 19 upon learning that he was a Christian, relatives said.

Joseph Reda Helmy of Kafr Darwish village, Beni Sweif Province, had just completed initial army training and was transferred to the main unit, where three officers killed him, relatives told Egyptian media. The Egyptian army told relatives Helmy died of an epileptic seizure.

His father, Reda Helmy, told Al Karma TV by phone that his large, strong son had arrived at he camp at 2 p.m. and was dead by 8 p.m. In the same program, the deceased’s cousin, Youssef Zarif, said he received a message at 2 a.m. on July 20 from the Ministry of Interior to come and receive Helmy’s body.

When Zarif went to retrieve the body, he asked to meet an officer and was initially rebuffed. Eventually he met with an officer who told him that Helmy had died of an epileptic seizure. Zarif refused to believe the army explanation, saying Helmy was a healthy, quiet person loved by all in the village of Christians and Muslims.

He told Al Karma that the extensive bruising he found on the body did not look like those of an epileptic episode. He said Helmy had bruises on his head, shoulders, neck, back and genitalia, with the worst injuries occurring on his back.

The doctor who received the body refused to bow to pressure from those who brought it and reported that the cause of death was not natural, Zarif said. A prosecutor accompanying the family firmly concurred and demanded an investigation, he said.

Zarif said he thanked the doctor and prosecutor for not trying to cover up the truth.

The three officers who attacked his cousin are in custody and under investigation, he said. Zarif said he learned that the three officers began to harass Helmly because of Christian faith, and that the marks on his body indicate he was kicked him with their boots and hit with heavy instruments.

Another cousin, Malak Youakim, confirmed the killing to Alhorreya.TV. Youakim also said he was attacked for his Christian faith.
A Christian leader in Helmy’s home village said many there are in mourning.

“Many women are wearing black, a sign of mourning for the death of one of their Coptic youth,” he said. “Many are sharing the graphic pictures of the bruised body of Joseph Reda Helmy, a new draftee doing his military service.”

He said Helmy had been in the army for only month when he died on July 19. Several other Coptic Christians have died for their faith while serving in the Egyptian military. (source)

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