World / Crime & Legal

Egypt hangs nine for 2015 assassination of prosecutor general, bringing month's executions to 15

AFP-JIJI

Egypt hanged nine men on Wednesday for the 2015 assassination of the prosecutor general, judicial sources said, bringing to 15 the number of executions it has carried out this month.

Hisham Barakat was killed in June 2015 when a car bomb struck his convoy in Cairo following jihadist calls for attacks on the judiciary to avenge a crackdown on Islamists.

The nine men hanged on Wednesday were among 28 people sentenced to death in 2017 for involvement in his murder.

Their death sentences were upheld in November by the Court of Cassation, which commuted the sentences of six others to life imprisonment.

The sentences of the other defendants were not considered because they had been sentenced in absentia.

The hangings came despite an 11th-hour plea by human rights group Amnesty International on Tuesday for a stay of execution.

Amnesty International condemned the executions.

“Executing men who were convicted in trials marred by torture allegations is not justice but a testament to the magnitude of injustice in the country,” said Najia Bounaim, Amnesty’s North Africa campaigns director.

“Egyptian authorities must urgently halt this bloody execution spree which has seen them repeatedly putting people to death after grossly unfair trials in recent weeks.”

Last week, Egypt hanged three people convicted of the 2013 murder of senior police officer Nabil Farag.

The previous week, it hanged three young “political detainees” convicted of the September 2013 murder of the son of a judge, Human Rights Watch reported.

No one claimed the 2015 attack against Barakat but authorities pointed the finger at members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

Since Morsi’s overthrow by then army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in 2013, Egypt has struggled to quell a jihadi insurgency and cracked down on Islamists who backed him.

Hundreds of Morsi supporters have been sentenced to death, while the former president and top Brotherhood figures have also faced trial.

The Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed and branded a terrorist organization in December 2013, just months after Morsi’s ouster.

Many of the death sentences have been handed down at mass trials involving hundreds of defendants and lasting just days.