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Monday, 30 July, 2001, 13:55 GMT 14:55 UK
Egypt retrial in anti-Christian killings

The Supreme Court in Egypt has ordered a retrial in the case of inter-religious clashes over a year ago, which left 20 Christians and one Muslim dead.

The decision overturns a previous ruling by a lower court, which had convicted only four defendants out of nearly 100.

The violence was sparked by a dispute between a Christian shopkeeper and a Muslim customer in the town of el-Kusheh, south of the capital, Cairo.

The initial verdict had angered Egypt's Coptic Christian community, whose members make up a tenth of the country's population.

Christian leaders have welcomed the Supreme Court's ruling.

Correspondents say it may reflect the authorities' desire to defuse sectarian tension.

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