Cairo court sentences terror suspects to death
Publish date: 16 April 2018
Issue Number: 769
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
A Cairo military court has sentenced 36 people to death over their involvement in attacks against Coptic churches. Their lawyers say 48 people have been put on trial in connection with attacks on Coptic churches in the cities of Cairo, Tanta and Alexandria between 2016 and 2017. The suspects were also accused of killing and attempting to kill worshippers and security forces. The National reports that the accused were found guilty of having links to terrorist cells and illegal weapons and explosives manufacturers. Egypt Independent reports that the court's verdict now has to be reviewed by Egypt's Grand Mufti. Egypt's Coptic minority makes up around 10% of the country's 96m population, and they have been targeted on numerous occasions.
Egypt's highest appeals court yesterday (Sunday) upheld death sentences for four people over forming a 'terrorist cell' to plot attacks on security forces and other institutions. The court of cassation has also rejected an appeal by 14 other defendants against sentences of 15 years' imprisonment in February over similar charges including joining the Muslim Brotherhood. A report on the News24 site notes that the verdict is final. Six defendants in the case were sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia. They remain at large and will be re-tried once they are apprehended.