Three sentenced to death in absentia by Cairo court

Sunday 08-02-2015 01:36 PM
Three sentenced to death in absentia by Cairo court

Egyptian soldiers stand guard at an army checkpoint in Arish, North Sinai, Egypt, January 31, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer


CAIRO, Feb 8 (Aswat Masriya) – The Cairo Criminal Court sentenced three people to death by hanging and one person to a 10 year prison term, all in absentia for charges of "espionage for al-Qaeda" on Sunday.

One of the three people handed the death sentence is Kurdish.

The judge presiding over the trial read out the verdict in a session which was aired on state-run television.  

He said the defendants agreed to cooperate with leaders from Qaeda in carrying out "terrorist acts against the armed forces in Sinai" and "the American and French embassies," providing the leaders with maps and information on the deployment sites of military personnel in Sinai.

Militancy has escalated in Egypt since July 2013, with the Sinai Peninsula being hit the hardest, although other parts of the country including Cairo have been affected. Security personnel belonging to the police and armed forces have been the target of most attacks.                   

The court's decision today comes after consultations with the Grand Mufti to consider serving them death sentences. Last month, the court referred the four defendants to the Grand Mufti, who represents Egypt's top religious authority but only three of them were handed the death penalty today.

In Egypt the Grand Mufti issues an opinion on cases involving death sentences. His opinions are not legally binding to the court but it is customary for the court to adopt them.    

The four had been referred to criminal court by prosecution in March 2014. 

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