Egyptian court sentences four to death in 'Tanta terrorist cell' case

Sunday 04-09-2016 03:44 PM

An Egyptian flag flutters at the High Court of Justice in Cairo November 1, 2011. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany

CAIRO, Sept. 4 (Aswat Masriya) - An Egyptian court sentenced four to death on charges of forming an Islamic State-affiliated terrorist cell that targetted members of Egypt’s police force and military.

The defendants were referred to court in November 2014 after they were accused of establishing and managing a group founded in "contravention of the provisions of law, aimed at disrupting the provisions of the constitution and preventing state institutions from carrying out their work."

The prosecution also accused the group of attacking people’s personal freedoms and public rights.

In July, the court referred the four defendants to the Grand Mufti for his religious opinion on the death sentences. Consulting Egypt's Grand Mufti is a procedural step adopted in all cases that involve death sentences.

Three of the defendants were sentenced in absentia and will have the sentences quashed for an appeal if they ever hand themselves.

The case, known publicly as the “Tanta terrorist cell”, involves nine other defendants; two were sentenced to 15 years in jail, six to 10 years, while one was acquitted.

Egypt listed the Islamic State group and their affiliates a “terrorist organisation” as per a court ruling in November 2014.

Islamic State fighters have controlled large areas of Iraq and Syria recently, killing hundreds of civilians. The group has also a presence in Libya and in Egypt’s North Sinai.

Sinai Province pledged allegiance to ISIS in November 2014, making Sinai one of the many territories in the region where the militant group has a foothold.

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