Court sentenced 31 defendants to death in Hisham Barakat assassination case

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The Cairo Criminal Court referred the papers of 31 defendants accused of the assassination of former prosecutor-general Hisham Barakat to the Grand Mufti after a preliminary hearing, state-media reported.

The court is scheduled to issue a ruling on these death sentences on 22 July.

Barakat was assassinated in June 2015 in an attack on his motorcade.

The trial began last June, after defendants were sent to court on accusations of joining the armed wing of the Muslim Brotherhood and conspiring with Hamas to conduct attacks inside Egypt.

Out of a total of 67 defendants involved in the case, 51 were present. The prosecution previously accused the defendants of planning the assassination of Barakat with the help of an intelligence officer from Hamas. The plot was allegedly an act of revenge for Barakat’s order for the dispersal of pro-Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins in Cairo’s Rabaa Al Adaweya and Al-Nahda squares, after the ousting of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

The list of defendants include 7 Palestinian nationals, allegedly members of the Ezz El-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, where they were alleged to have received weapons and explosive material and to have received military training.

In early 2016, Al-Ahram published High State Security Prosecution statements upholding the above-mentioned accusations reportedly based on confessions of the suspects.

Other significant events occurred after the trial, when Minister of Interior Magdy Abdel Ghaffar’s referred officers securing the session to investigation on 18 April 2017. This was because during the session, one of the defendants celebrated his engagement when his fiancée brought them rings amid celebrations by their family members.

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