Egypt Upholds Death Sentences in Prosecutor Killing Case

Egypt’s highest appellate court upheld the death sentence against nine people over the 2015 killing of the country’s prosecutor-general.

The Court of Cassation confirmed the penalty after being convicted in the death of Hisham Barakat, who was killed in a car bombing in eastern Cairo, according to the official MENA news agency.

In July 2017, death sentences were handed down against 28 defendants, while 38 others were sentenced to jail. Some of the suspects had appealed their sentences.

The son of senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Taha Wahdan was among those condemned to death.

The court also commuted the death sentence against six other defendants to life in prison.

Egypt was roiled by turmoil when the military deposed Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first freely elected president, in a 2013 coup.

Barakat was the highest Egyptian official to have been killed in a militant attack since 2013.

Since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took power in 2014, authorities have justified a crackdown on dissent and freedoms as being directed at terrorists and saboteurs trying to undermine the state.

Death sentences have been handed down to hundreds of his political opponents on charges such as belonging to an illegal organization or planning to carry out an attack.

Moreover, death sentence had hiked in Egypt’s al-Sisi in both civilian and military courts.

According to the HRW, the Egyptian authorities have arrested or charged probably at least 60,000 people, forcibly disappeared hundreds for months at a time, given preliminary death sentences to hundreds more, and tried thousands of civilians in military courts since the coup.

Critics say that the rise in the number of executions over the last year is scary especially mass trails that turned to a nightmare in Egypt’s al-Sisi.

Rights groups, including Amnesty International, had said the mass trial reflected a crackdown on dissent and freedoms under Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi’s rule, who was re-elected last March after his electoral challengers were sidelined.

Egyptian courts have subsequently sentenced hundreds to death or lengthy jail terms at mass trials that rights groups said have made a mockery of due process.