A Cairo criminal court has sentenced terrorist leader Hisham Ashmawy to death, as well as 36 defendants, in the case known in local media as the Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis case.
The court convicted the 37 defendants of carrying out 54 assassinations of police and citizens, most notably policemen Mohamed Mabrouk, Mohamed Abu Shakra and Mohamed Said.
The defendants were also convicted of bombing three security directorates, including Cairo Security Directorate in 2014, and vandalising 25 public and private institutions, including police headquarters, churches and mosques.
The court also gave life sentences to 61 defendants, sentencing 21 to ten years in prison and 15 others to 15 years.
The sentences comes a few weeks after the same court referred the preliminary death sentences to the grand mufti for his recommendation, which is a necessary, albeit non-binding, procedure before issuing a death sentence in the Egyptian penal code.
The defendants can still challenge the sentences at Egypt's Court of Cassation.
This is the second death sentence given to Ashmawy, a former Egyptian military officer turned militant, in recent months.
One of the most-wanted Egyptian militants, he was apprehended in Libya in October 2018 and handed over to Egypt by forces loyal to Libya’s Khalifa Haftar in May 2019.
In November 2019, an Egyptian military court sentenced Ashmawy to death for his involvement in a number of terrorist attacks, most notably a 2014 ambush that killed 22 Egyptian military border guards near Libya.
Ashmawy led the Sinai-based Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, the military has said. He broke away from the group after they swore allegiance to the Islamist State militant group in late 2014.