02 March 2020 :
An Egyptian court on 2nd March 2020 sentenced to death 37 defendants, including one of the country’s most high-profile militants, following their conviction of terrorism-related charges.
The Cairo Criminal Court said the defendants were charged with belonging to a local affiliate of the Islamic State group spearheading an insurgency in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
The Grand Mufti, the country's top Islamic jurist, whose non-binding opinion has reduced the court's sentence in many cases, has confirmed the death sentence.
Among those sentenced to death was Hisham el-Ashmawi. The militant leader is a former army officer and was captured in Libya late in 2018 by forces loyal to Libyan Gen. Khalifa Hifter, a close ally of Egypt. A military court separately sentenced el-Ashmawi to death in November for his participation in scores of attacks on government targets.
Egypt has been fighting for years militants in the restive northern Sinai area and the vast Western Desert.
The men are among more than 200 defendants accused of carrying out more than 50 militant attacks that included killing high-ranking police officers and bombings that targeted the Egyptian capital’s police headquarters. The charges include a 2013 assassination attempt on the Egyptian interior minister.
The court also sentenced 61 defendants to life in prison, and 85 others got sentences ranging from 15 to 5 years in prison.
The verdict can be appealed before a higher court.