Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Egypt: Military court sentences 17 to death for church bombings

Egypt: Military court sentences 17 to death for church bombings 17 People received death sentence in Egypt
Jeannette Daniel | 12 October, 2018, 23:51

The bombings in Alexandria and Tanta - in which 45 people were killed - occurred on Palm Sunday in April 2017.

An Egyptian military court sentenced 17 people to death yesterday for their involvement in bombing attacks on three churches and a police checkpoint in 2016 and 2017 that killed more than 80 people, the state news agency MENA reported.

Another 19 people were handed life prison terms and 10 were sentenced to between 10 and 15 years on Thursday, judicial and security officials said.

The Islamic State (IS) group said its militants were behind the suicide bombings that killed dozens of people.

In December 2016, no fewer than 28 people were killed in a suicide attack at a chapel adjoining Cairo's main Coptic cathedral.

Christians account for around 10 per cent of Egypt's mostly Muslim population of almost 100 million.

More news: Authorities told to investigate possible match-fixing in Liverpool’s Champions League group

In November previous year, suspected ISIS militants killed more than 300 Muslim worshippers in a gun and bomb assault on a mosque in the Sinai Peninsula.

Egyptian forces have been waging an extensive operation against Islamist terrorists that has intensified in recent years.

In April, the court referred 36 defendants accused of involvement in the attacks to the Grand Mufti, the country's top religious authority, for consideration for the death penalty.

Amnesty International said in a statement that the cases should be retried in a civilian court in proceedings that complied with international human rights law and fair trial standards.

"There is no doubt that the perpetrators of these horrific attacks should be held accountable for their crimes", said the group's North Africa campaigns director Najia Bounaim.

"But handing out a mass death sentence after an unfair military trial is not justice and will not deter further sectarian attacks", it added.

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