Egyptian court overturns death sentences for 6 ISIS supporters

Monday 24-10-2016 05:46 PM

Egypt's High Court. Reuters

CAIRO, Oct 24 (Aswat Masriya) - An Egyptian court overturned on Monday death sentences for six defendants accused of planning attacks on behalf of the Islamic State (IS) group.

In September 2015, an Egyptian court had sentenced the defendants to death after they were convicted of planning attacks against police and soldiers in the country. 

The case included a total of 12 defendants who were all sentenced to death; six of them were tried in absentia. The Court of Cassation accepted and appeal by the defendants and ordered on Monday a retrial for the six who were in custody, according to state-owned MENA agency.

The other six weren’t included in the retrial decision. According to law, defendants tried in absentia are granted retrials after either being arrested or turning themselves in.

This comes one week after the Court of Cassation overturned death sentences for 14 defendants accused of attacking a police station in July 2013 following the ousting of former president Mohamed Mursi. 

On Saturday, the Court of Cassation upheld a 20-year sentence against Mursi and 12 other Muslim Brotherhood leaders in case dubbed as presidential palace clashes.

Earlier this month, a number of rights groups issued a statement calling on the Egyptian government to temporarily suspend the death penalty until improvements and significant reform be achieved in Egypt’s criminal justice system.

The statement denounced "mass death sentences" being handed to civilians since 2014, saying that the human rights situation in Egypt has “reached a historical low over the past three years.”

According to Amnesty International, Egypt ranked 8th among countries carrying out the most executions in 2015, with a total of 22 Egyptians being executed last year. 

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