Egypt: Military court upholds life sentences for 32 defendants over alleged attempt to kill Sisi

An Egyptian military court on Wednesday upheld life sentences for 32 people accused of plotting to kill Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and a former Saudi crown prince, the defendants’ lawyer said.

Egyptian military’s high appeals court on Wednesday upheld life sentences formerly given by a military court for 32 people accused of plotting to kill General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and Mohammed bin Nayef, former Saudi crown prince, according to the lawyer of defendants.

The court decided to reject all appeals and uphold the verdict for all but two defendants, whose sentences were reduced to 15 years: Essam Mohamed El Sayed Ali  and Karim Mohamed Hamdi Mohamed, Khaled El-Masry wrote on his Facebook account.

A life sentence in Egypt is capped at 25 years’ imprisonment.

In June 2019, a military criminal court handed down life sentences to the 32 defendants in the case. Out of more than 290 defendants originally appearing in the case, 264 were sentenced to between three and 15 years in jail.

The defendants were charged with setting up terrorist cells that committed crimes including planning to assassinate al-Sisi and Saudi Arabia’s former crown prince and interior minister, Mohammed bin Nayef.

Excerpts from a public prosecutor’s investigation in 2016 published in local media alleged that the defendants were plotting to assassinate Sisi and the former crown prince while they were on pilgrimage to the Islamic holy city of Mecca in 2014.

The case is known in the media as the “Sisi assassination” case.

The suspects were arrested on charges of belonging to an affiliate of the terrorist-designated Islamic State group in North Sinai, Known as Sinai Province, where army security forces have for years been fighting in Sinai..

Some were charged with the targeted killing of three judges in North Sinai in 2015, while others were charged with the targeting of tourists and security forces.

Since February 2018, the authorities have been conducting a nationwide operation against the insurgency in North Sinai and the country’s Western Desert.

Egypt has issued thousands of death sentences against dissidents since the deadly 2013 coup against the country’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi.

Rights groups estimate that some 60,000 political prisoners are lingering in inhumane conditions in Egyptian jails. Egypt denies this, saying there are no political prisoners in its facilities.