Egyptian court issues second death sentence for Sinai militant Habara

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Tuesday 26 May 2015

This is the second death sentence issued against the Sinai militant Adel Habara

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

A terrorism department at Egypt's Criminal Court sentenced late Tuesday Sinai-based militant Adel Habara and eight others to death on charges of possessing ammunition, explosives and targeting police and army personnel.

Among the defendants, four were present including Habara, while five others were tried in absentia.

On 24 February, the court sent its preliminary death sentence against all the defendants in the case to the country's Grand Mufti, the most senior Muslim cleric in the country, for a consultative review as required by Egyptian law, and the cleric approved the death sentence.

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

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 outside parties to achieve this goal."

Habara and the other defendants were all arrested in Egypt's Sharqiya governorate, northeast of Cairo, in September 2013 while possessing ammunition and explosive devices.

This is the second death sentence that the Sinai militant Habara has received.

In December, 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 killed. Further, he is 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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