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Egypt upholds life sentences against 32 defendants for 'attempting to assassinate president'

An Egyptian intelligence security detail member stands guard near a banner showing President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on May 31, 2021 [MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images]
An Egyptian intelligence security detail member stands guard near a banner showing President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on May 31, 2021 [MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images]

An Egyptian military court yesterday upheld a 25-year life sentence against 32 defendants for "forming 22 terrorist cells, and attempting to assassinate the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and the former Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef."

The verdict was issued by the court in June 2019.

The defendants' lawyer, Khaled Al-Masry, told reporters that the court had rejected all the submitted appeals, "except for two defendants, whose sentences were mitigated to 15 years in prison."

The case was reported to have involved more than 290 defendants, who were referred in November 2016 to the military court for "forming terrorist cells in the Sinai Peninsula." The 2019 rulings also included three to 15-year sentences against 264 others.

The investigations carried out in 2014 accused the defendants of "planning to assassinate Al-Sisi while he was accompanied by Bin Nayef while he was performing the Umrah." They were also charged with "assassinating three judges in Sinai's northern city of Al-Arish in 2015, targeting tourists and security forces."

Egypt has issued thousands of death sentences against dissidents since the deadly 2013 coup against the country's first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi. Rights groups estimate that some 60,000 political prisoners are lingering in inhumane conditions in Egyptian jails. Egypt denies this, saying there are no political prisoners in its facilities.

Reprieve: Egypt remains fifth largest executioner worldwide

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