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Tuesday, 19 June, 2001, 00:29 GMT 01:29 UK
Coptic Pope calls for calm

As Coptic Christians in Egypt demonstrated in Cairo for a second day over what they say are repeated insults to their faith, the head of the church, Pope Shenouda, has appealed for calm.

The official news agency, MENA, quoted him as saying the state had taken swift measures to guarantee social peace, and there was no justification for angry responses.

Pope Shenouda is reported to have criticised a newspaper article whose publication sparked the protests.

The authorities seized copies of the newspaper carrying photographs which allegedly showed a former Coptic cleric having sex with a woman.

In a separate development, an Egyptian court has released details of charges against a prominent human rights activist, Saadeddine Ibrahim, who was jailed for seven years last month.

It said Mr Ibrahim had spread false information in briefing a German Christian charity about alleged abuses against Coptic citizens.

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