Egypt executes 6 people - state agency

Sunday 17-05-2015 11:27 AM
Egypt executes 6 people - state agency

Military vehicles are seen during an army crackdown in North Sinai on July 25, 2014 - photo from Facebook page of an army spokesman


CAIRO, May 17 (Aswat Masriya) - Six people were executed on Sunday dawn by Egyptian authorities, a source in the prison authority told the state agency MENA.

In March 2014, security forces launched a raid on "hotbeds" belonging to the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group, located in the Nile Delta governorate of Qalyubia, according to the Interior Ministry. During the raid, however, two military officers were killed.

Several people were arrested after the raid. In August, a military tribunal referred seven defendants to the Grand Mufti to issue his opinion on handing them the death sentence. This is a step that must be taken in Egypt's court system before issuing a death sentence.

In October, the military tribunal ratified the death sentences handed to the seven people and sentenced two more defendants in the same case to life in prison.

The seventh person who was handed a death sentence was being tried in absentia.

Prosecutors had leveled against them charges of "belonging to Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, planning terrorist operations, receiving military training, firing gunfire and rockets at navy ships and attacking military facilities."  

Bombings and shootings targeting security forces have surged since the military ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in July 2013, following mass protests against his rule.

Ansar is Egypt's most active militant group and has pledged allegiance to Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria last November, renaming itself as the "Sinai Province".

No Military Trials for Civilians, a group campaigning against referring civilians to military tribunals, had strongly condemned the initial death sentence. It had called for the defendants' retrial at a civilian court.

Article 204 of the new constitution allows referring civilians to military trials "in cases which represent a direct assault on armed forces institutions, their camps or anything that falls under their authority, alongside assaults on military or border zones, and military institutions, vehicles, weapons, ammunition, documents, secrets, public funds, or factories."

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