A view of the High Court of Justice in Cairo, Egypt (Reuters)
An Egyptian court on Monday sought the religious opinion of the country's grand mufti on preliminary death sentences handed down to 10 people over drug smuggling offences.
The case involves 7 Pakistanis, one Iranian, and two Egyptians who were convicted of attempting to smuggle over 2 tonnes of heroin worth EGP 2.5 billion onboard a ship via the Red sea.
Egyptian security authorities arrested the gang members who were in a sailing ship within Egypt’s territorial waters on the Red Sea. The drugs were stashed inside a secret warehouse in the ship's hull, according to the security authorities.
Egypt imposes tough penalties on drug trafficking, with penalties extending to the death penalty if the defendant is found guilty of smuggling narcotics into the country, according to the the country's code of criminal procedure.
Meanwhile another Egyptian criminal court issued on Monday preliminary death sentences to seven people, including a woman, in a murder-robbery case.
The defendants were convicted of shooting a man to death and stealing his car.
The court has referred the preliminary sentences to the Grand Mufti for his opinion as per Egypt’s penal code.
The religious opinion of the mufti is non-binding, but is a necessary procedure before issuing a death sentence in Egypt, according to the country’s code of criminal procedure.
The court has set 7 September as the date of the final verdict.