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Egypt Refers Cases of 2 Defendants in Killing of Christians to Grand Mufti

Egypt Refers Cases of 2 Defendants in Killing of Christians to Grand Mufti

Wednesday, 17 April, 2019 - 11:45
Bullet holes are seen at the Saint Menas church following an attempted attack in the district of Helwan, Cairo (EPA)
Cairo - Asharq Al-Awsat
A court in Egypt has sentenced two defendants to death over a 2017 terrorist attack against the Saint Menas and Pope Cyril IV Church in Helwan district on the outskirts of Cairo.

The Cairo criminal court referred on Tuesday the sentence to the country’s Grand Mufti for his non-binding opinion, as required by Egyptian law, pending a final verdict.

It set May 12 to issue sentences on all 11 defendants in the case.

They are accused of establishing, leading and joining a takfiri group, financing its elements, killing nine Christian civilians and one police officer, attempting to murder others and resisting police by force and violence.

The prosecutor also charged the defendants with manufacturing and possessing a bomb and attempting to use it to endanger people’s lives and property.

The group also sought to recruit ISIS militants abroad to prepare for carrying out terrorist crimes in Egypt. They were accused of using social media platforms to send and receive messages from ISIS and assign its members terrorist missions, in addition to possessing firearms and ammunition for use in terrorist crimes.

According to the public prosecution’s probe, confessions of the arrested suspects, examination of the surveillance cameras at the site of attacks and reports of the General Administration of Criminal Evidence Verification indicated that some of the accused had adopted ISIS’s takfiri ideology.

Also Tuesday, the Zagazig criminal court in al-Sharqia Governorate in Egypt's Delta region sentenced three people to five years imprisonment.

They were accused of conspiring with Palestinian terrorist leaders to purchase materials used for making explosives to target police in North Sinai.

The Alexandria criminal court also sentenced 36 people convicted of joining the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood organization to five years in prison. They were arrested in Alexandria in 2017.

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