Egyptian court seeks execution of 31 in prosecutor’s assassination

Egyptian firefighters work at the scene of a bombing targeting the convoy of the Egyptian Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat in Cairo in 2015. An Egyptian court recommended 31 people be put to death for their role in the plot. File Photo by Hatem Safwat/EPA

June 17 (UPI) — An Egyptian court recommended the death sentence for 31 suspected members of the Islamic Brotherhood after the government said the organization, backed by Hamas, assassinated the nation’s top prosecutor in 2015.

The Islamic Brotherhood and Hamas have denied any role in the car bomb that killed prosecutor-general Hisham Barakat in Cairo. The government released video footage of alleged members of the Islamic Brotherhood, an Islamist political party banned in Egypt, saying they traveled to Gaza where Hamas trained them and gave them explosives to kill Barakat.

Some of the men in the video denied the allegations at trial.

As prosecutor, Barakat was responsible for overseeing the conviction and incarceration of hundreds of Islamic Brotherhood members after their leader, Mohammad Morsi, was deposed in a military coup following popular elections in 2013. After assuming power, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi banned the hardline Islamic Brotherhood and began jailing its senior leaders, including Morsi, for various crimes against the state.

An Egyptian criminal court recommended 31 of the 64 people charged as part of the plot to kill Barakat be put to death. The remaining 33 defendants have not been sentenced.

The court’s recommendation will go to the Grand Mufti, a religious leader who considers whether to go forward with capital punishment in Egypt.

The court has set a deadline of July 22 for sentencing.

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