Egypt Court Sentence 5 Defendants To Death On Terrorist Charges And Church Attack

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Giza criminal court referred the death sentence for five defendants involved in the shooting of security personnel at Virgin Mary church in January to Grand Mufti, Shawqi Allam for approval.

The court said on Saturday that it will issue its final verdict for the case on 20 September.

The Mufti will look into the case and decide whether to reject or uphold the court’s decision to sentence the defendants to death.

General prosecution has convicted seven defendants on charges of forming a terrorist organisation and killing security personnel who were securing the Virgin Mary Church in 6th October city last January.

Egyptian police apprehended the perpetrators shortly after the attack

The drive-by-shooting at the Virgin Mary Coptic Church killed a policeman and injured another.

A firefight ensued between the attackers and police guarding the church, which ended in the apprehension of the gunmen, according to police.

Police stopped the attacking car, said an interior ministry statement, and arrested its driver as well as a passenger.

Since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on July 2013, many attacks on churches, police stations and in the Sinai Peninsula took place.

In March, southern Egypt’s Minya court sentenced 529 Morsi supporters to death on charges of murdering a police officer. The court later upheld sentences for 37 of them and sentenced the rest to life in prison.

One month later, another court in Minya sentenced 683 Morsi supporters to death for attacking a police station and killing a police officer.

In early August the Grand Mufti did not approve the death sentence for the 683 Morsi supporters on account of insufficient evidence; the case was adjourned pending his second opinion.

The mass death sentences were criticised by international and local rights groups.

Source : Ahram online

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