A Cairo court confirmed a death sentence against controversial Islamic preacher Wagdy Ghoneim on Sunday after Egypt's grand mufti gave his consent to the verdict.
On 2 April, a Cairo criminal court issued a preliminary death sentence against Ghoneim and two other men after they were convicted of inciting the murder of security forces personnel and Christians. Five other men were handed life sentences in the same case.
The ruling against Ghoneim and his co-defendants was awaiting the non-binding consultative opinion of the country’s grand mufti, as per Egypt's penal code, before becoming official. The death sentence was referred to the grand mufti earlier this month.
The sentence against Ghoneim – a controversial Salafist preacher believed to be residing in Turkey – was issued in absentia.
The death sentences against Ghoneim and the two other defendants are subject to appeal.
In 2016, Egypt’s High State Security Prosecution referred the eight defendants to court on charges of founding an illegal group with the aim of obstructing the law, preventing state institutions from performing their duties, and attacking the personal freedoms of citizens. The defendants were also charged with incitement to topple the government and attack Christians and security forces personnel.
Ghoneim has faced several lawsuits and trials in Egypt since 2012 over statements considered offensive to women and Christians.