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Egypt's Court of Cassation upholds jail sentences for 9 in Shia preacher killing

Ahram Online , Wednesday 22 Feb 2017

Egypt's Court of Cassation upheld on Tuesday jail sentences for nine members of an angry mob led by Salafists convicted of killing prominent 66-year-old Shia figure Hassan Shehata in 2013.

The court rejected an appeal by the defendants, confirming 14 year jail sentences for them.

Tuesday's verdict comes after 23 defendants, including the nine who appealed, were sentenced to 14 years in prison while eight others were acquitted by a Giza criminal court in 2015.

The general prosecution charged the men with organising an assembly to commit murder and killing Shehata and three of his sons.

According to the prosecution, the 23 gathered and besieged the men and his children, beating them with melee weapons and Molotov cocktails in a "beating that led to death." They were also charged with attempted murder of others and setting several residential buildings ablaze.

The incident dates to June, 2013 when a mob, led by Salafist sheikhs, torched and attacked houses belonging to Shia Muslims in the small village of Zawyat Abu Musalam in Giza governorate.

Not less than 3,000 angry locals were involved in the attack.

Shehata, a prominent preacher, had been jailed twice under former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak for "contempt of religion."

According to the Egyptians Against Religious Discrimination group, the mob lynching was an unprecedented event in modern Egyptian history.

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