Ismailia central prison (Photo: Ahram gate website)
A Cairo criminal court has sentenced 13 people to death over a prison escape during which two people were killed in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia almost two years ago.
The incident dates back to October 2016, when a group of inmates escaped from a central Ismailia jail. A civilian and a senior police officer were killed as security forces chased the escapees
The court on Thursday handed death sentences to 13 people, including escapees and those who aided and abetted the getaway. Seven of the defendants are fugitives who have been sentenced in absentia and six were present in court on Thursday.
Defendants sentenced in absentia are automatically granted a retrial if they turn themselves in.
The prosecution said the defendants include members of Egypt's deadliest terrorist group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, which has claimed numerous attacks against security forces and civilians.
Nine of the defendants were charged with using violence against members of the police and four were accused of aiding and abetting the escape and providing weapons to the other defendants.
Thursday's court ruling can still be appealed.