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Egypt military court refers 5 defendants to Mufti for death penalty

Egyptian security forces in Cairo, Egypt on January 16, 2017 ( Mohamed El Raai - Anadolu Agency )
Egyptian security forces in Cairo, Egypt on January 16, 2017 ( Mohamed El Raai - Anadolu Agency )

An Egyptian military court has referred five defendants accused in connection with the 2016 explosion in Giza to the country's top religious authority for consideration of the death penalty, their lawyer disclosed on Wednesday.

Khaled Al-Masry confirmed that two defendants, Mohamed Hamdi and Marwan Sedky, attended the court session, while three others, Mohammed Saeed, Mohammed Bashandi and Amr Saber, were sentenced in absentia. The court set 14 September as the date to pronounce the final verdict.

The defendants are accused of joining a terrorist group established in violation of the law and Constitution and manufacturing explosive devices, which resulted in the deaths of seven police officers and three civilians, injuring 15 others.

The incident occurred in January 2016, when a police force attempted to arrest several suspects in an apartment in the Haram district of Giza, southwest of the capital. The police investigation revealed that a bullet fired by the police force penetrated a bomb inside the apartment, detonating 13 other bombs and killing the victims.

According to Amnesty International, Egyptian courts sentenced 356 people to death in 2021, the highest number of death sentences worldwide, highlighting the sharp increase in the number of death sentences issued in Egypt.

Recent reports suggest that Egypt has postponed carrying out death sentences as pressure builds internally to stave off protests. This comes as prices continue to soar after the Russian invasion of Ukraine compounded inflation.

In March, the United Nations called on Egypt to introduce a moratorium on the use of the death penalty when seven people were executed after a trial that did not meet due process standards. At the time, Amnesty International said that at least six of them had been forcibly disappeared and tortured for "confessions" used to convict them.

READ: West's turning a blind eye to abuses in Egypt is costing lives, opposition says

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AfricaAmnesty InternationalEgyptInternational OrganisationsNews
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