Cassation Court upholds 14-year prison sentence against 9 over Shiite cleric’s murder

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The Cassation Court upheld on Tuesday a strict 14-year prison sentence against nine defendants on charges of murdering Shiite cleric Hassan Shehata and three others, who were lynched and their bodies mutilated by an angry mob in Giza.

According to state-media, the verdict previously sentenced 23 defendants to the same sentence but then acquitted eight of them, while the appeal to the verdict by nine others was rejected Tuesday by the Cassation Court.

On 23 June 2013, Shehata, two of his siblings, and a student were killed, while dozens were injured as a result of religious intolerance in the town of Abu Musallam in Giza. The killing took place when approximately 24 Shiites gathered at a local residence to celebrate the birth of Imam Mohammed ibn Hassan Al-Mahdi, believed to be the 12th and last imam of Shi’a Islam. The gathering was attacked by a mob armed with Molotov cocktails and other weapons.

This followed a wave of incitement by extremist preachers—especially the Egyptian Salafi current—including a public hate speech against Shiites in a conference attended by former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, nearly a week before the incident.

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