Egyptian court sentences 37 to death for terrorism

A Cairo criminal court handed preliminary death sentences to leading terrorist Hisham Ashmawy and 36 others in the case known as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, convicting them of executing over 50 assassination attacks on policemen.

The court referred the preliminary sentences to the grand mufti, which is a necessary, albeit non-binding, procedure before issuing a death sentence, as per the Egyptian penal code.

The court is slayed to issue a verdict on 2 March.

The court convicted the 37 defendants of carrying out 54 assassinations against policemen and citizens, most notably late policemen Mohamed Mabrouk, Mohamed Abu Shakra, Mohamed Said and others.

The defendants were also convicted of bombing three security directorates, including Cairo Security Directorate in 2014, vandalising of 25 public and private institutions, including police headquarters, churches and mosques.

This is the second death sentence handed to Ashmawy in recent months.

In November 2019, an Egyptian military court sentenced Ashmawy to death over involvement in a number of terrorist attacks.

He was convicted in 14 crimes, including a 2014 ambush that killed 22 Egyptian military border guards near Libya and a failed assassination attempt on a former interior minister in 2013, the army spokesman said in earlier statements.

Ashmawy, one of the most wanted Egyptian militants, was apprehended in Libya in October 2018 and handed over to Egypt by forces of Libyan army commander Khalifa Haftar in May.

A former Egyptian special forces officer, Ashmawy had been sentenced to death in absentia before his transfer to Egypt.

Ashmawy led the Sinai-based Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, the army said. He broke off after the group swore allegiance to the Islamist State group in late 2014.