Tue, 30 Nov 2021

Egypt Sentences 22 Militants to Death: Judicial Source

Voice of America
26 Nov 2021, 04:06 GMT+10

CAIRO - An Egyptian court sentenced to death by hanging 22 militants Thursday for 54 attacks, including the attempted assassination of a former interior minister, a judicial source told AFP.

The men were found guilty of committing 54 'terrorist operations' across Egypt, including the murder of a senior police officer, as well as trying to kill former interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim.

Executions in Egypt for civilians are carried out by hanging. Those sentenced to death include a former police officer, and the verdicts cannot be appealed.

FILE - Lotfy Ibrahim's mother, Tahany, looks at a photograph of her son at home in Kafr al-Sheikh, Egypt, Jan. 13, 2019. FILE - Lotfy Ibrahim's mother, Tahany, looks at a photograph of her son at home in Kafr al-Sheikh, Egypt, Jan. 13, 2019.

How Sissi's Egypt Hands Out Justice

The 22 convicted were found guilty of being members of the Ansar Beit al-Maqdis group, which pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State group in 2014.

The Court of Cassation, Egypt's highest appeals court, also upheld prison sentences of 118 others in the same case, ranging from terms of several years to life imprisonment.

Egypt has for years been fighting an insurgency in North Sinai that escalated after the army's 2013 ouster of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president.

In February 2018, the army and police launched a nationwide operation against militants focused on North Sinai.

About 1,073 suspected militants and dozens of security personnel have been killed since the start of operations, according to official figures.

Earlier this month, Egypt agreed with Israel to boost its troop numbers around the border town of Rafah in order to quell IS militants.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis fighters in Sinai were led by Hisham al-Ashmawy, an ex-special forces officer in the Egyptian army.

Ashmawy - once dubbed Egypt's 'most wanted man' - split from the militants after they switched allegiance from al-Qaida to the Islamic State group.

FILE - In this Feb. 7, 2018 photo, Hesham Genena, Egypt's former top auditor who suffered serious injuries during an apparent kidnapping attempt, talks during an interview with the Associated Press at his home in Cairo. FILE - In this Feb. 7, 2018 photo, Hesham Genena, Egypt's former top auditor who suffered serious injuries during an apparent kidnapping attempt, talks during an interview with the Associated Press at his home in Cairo.

Amnesty Calls Egypt an 'Open-air Prison' for Critics

In 2018, Ashmawy was captured in the eastern Libya city of Derna and extradited to Cairo. He had been on trial with the 22 men sentenced Thursday, but already had been found guilty, and was executed in March 2020.

Egypt recorded the third most executions in the world - behind China and Iran, according to Amnesty International. In 2020, Egyptian authorities executed at least 107 people, Amnesty said.

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