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Egyptian court sentences 10 to death for planning attacks

31 Jan, 2022
Defendants of Muslim Brotherhood gesture behind the bars during a court session in Cairo, Egypt, December 26, 2018. Reuters file photo
Defendants of Muslim Brotherhood gesture behind the bars during a court session in Cairo, Egypt, December 26, 2018. Reuters file photo

CAIRO: An Egyptian court on Sunday sentenced to death 10 members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group found guilty of violence against security officers in 2015, a judicial source said.

The case will now be referred to the Grand Mufti, Egypt's top theological authority -- a formality in death penalty cases -- before the court meets on June 19 to confirm the sentences.

Of the 10 men, nine were in custody while one was sentenced in absentia, the source said.

They were accused of multiple incidents of violence against police in 2015 -- a period that saw a spike in attacks targeting security forces.

Egypt outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood group in 2013 and designated it a terrorist organisation, following the military ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi.

General-turned-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who led Morsi's ouster, has since led a crackdown on the group, jailing thousands including its top leader as well as its rank and file.

Morsi died in custody in June 2019 after falling ill during a court hearing.

Cairo has handed down death sentences or long jail terms after mass trials that have drawn condemnation from the United Nations.

Capital punishment for civilian convicts in Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, is carried out by hanging.

Egypt carried out the third highest number of known executions in the world last year, after China and Iran, according to Amnesty ICAIRO, Jan 30 (Reuters) - An Egyptian court has sentenced to death 10 members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group for planning attacks on the police, the state-news agency MENA said on Sunday.

Egypt's top religious authority, the Grand Mufti, has to ratify the sentences, it said.

The identities of the defendants were not disclosed and it was not possible to determine how they had pleaded to the charges.

Egypt has mounted one of the biggest crackdowns in its modern history on the Brotherhood following the army’s overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, the country’s first freely-elected president, in 2013 after mass protests against his rule.

The government considers the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation. The group has long said it is committed to peaceful change.

The 10 who were sentenced to death had formed a group called "Helwan Brigades", MENA said, in reference to a city south of Cairo. They were part of a broader plot to attack police targets in the Cairo area with the aim to topple the regime, it added.

Morsi's rule was marked by deep divisions in Egyptian society, a crippling economic crisis and often-deadly opposition protests.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which was established in 1928, has touted itself as the main opposition movement in Egypt despite decades of repression. It has consistently denied any link to the violence the government accuses it of.

It has inspired spin-off movements and political parties across the Muslim world.