Egyptian court upholds Sinai militants' death sentence

Ahram Online , Tuesday 29 Sep 2015

Adel Habara could lodge a second appeal against the death sentence

 Sinai-based militant Adel Habara
Sinai-based militant Adel Habara (Photo: Al-Ahram)

The terrorism department of an Egyptian criminal court upheld on Tuesday the ruling to sentence to death the Sinai-based militant Adel Habara and five others on charges of being members of a jihadi group.

The court ordered the release of one defendant named Mohamed Al-Maghawry.

The court sentenced the seven defendants to death in May 2015. Two were present at court on Tuesday, including Habara, while the rest were sentenced in absentia.

Tuesday's verdict came following an appeal by two defendants.

The court sent its preliminary death sentence against the defendants to the country's Grand Mufti on 24 February. The senior Muslim cleric is required by Egyptian law to give a consultative, and he approved the sentence.

Meanwhile, the defendants have the right to appeal for the second time at the Court of Cassation against the death sentence.

If that appeal is accepted, the Court of Cassation will be in charge of the trial.

The prosecution charged the convicted of "joining a jihadi group that aims to overthrow the government and target the army and police, possessing explosives, having connections with the Islamic State group, and receiving funds from foreign parties to achieve this goal."

Habara and the other defendants were arrested in Egypt's Sharqiya governorate, northeast of Cairo, in September 2013 in possession of ammunition and explosive devices.
This is the second death sentence that the Sinai militant Habara has received.

In December a Cairo criminal court confirmed death sentences against Habara and six others for carrying out an execution-style killing of policemen in an ambush in August 2013. Some 25 soldiers were killed in the attack.

Habara, who hit the headlines over his involvement in the attack, is also accused of involvement in another major militant attack in Rafah against the Egyptian army in August 2012, which left 16 soldiers dead.

He is also accused of involvement in other militant operations against security forces.

A large number Islamists have been sentenced to death in similar cases over the past year. The latest was a preliminary death sentence to ousted president Mohamed Morsi and 105 other defendants in the trial known in the Egyptian media as the Natroun jailbreak case.

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