Wednesday,17 January, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1271, (19-25 November 2015)
Wednesday,17 January, 2018
Issue 1271, (19-25 November 2015)

Ahram Weekly


Al-Ahram Weekly

Habara death sentence upheld

CAIRO Criminal Court sentenced seven people, including militant leader Adel Habara, to death on Saturday in the retrial of the case known as the Rafah Second Massacre, reports Ahmed Morsy.

The defendants were convicted of the murder of 25 soldiers in Rafah in North Sinai in August 2013, staging terrorist attacks in Sinai and Cairo, espionage and conspiring with Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Three others were sentenced to 25 years in prison; 22 received 15-year terms and three defendants were acquitted.

In 2013, terrorists ambushed two buses carrying 27 police recruits on the Rafah-Arish road in North Sinai. Only two of the recruits survived the attack.

Habara, who denied any involvement in the 2013 attack, received a death sentence following the first trial in October 2014. The verdict was then referred to the Grand Mufti who upheld the sentence in December 2014 only for it to be nullified when, in June 2015, the court of cassation accepted an appeal by the defence team and ordered a retrial.

This week’s verdict may not be final. Capital sentences can be appealed twice.

The army is fighting a decade-long militant insurgency in North Sinai. More than 500 security and army personnel have been killed since 2013 by Islamist militants.

Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS), has claimed responsibility for the majority of attacks against security forces in Sinai. Since launching its most recent campaign in North Sinai, military authorities have announced the deaths of hundreds of militants.

Habara, 40, was first sentenced to death in absentia following terrorist attacks in the Sinai tourist resorts of Taba in 2004 and Dahab in 2006. The bomb attacks claimed the lives of 42 people.

Eight defendants, including Habara, also faced charges of the premeditated murder of policemen during an exchange of fire in the Delta governorate of Sharqiya in 2012, for which they received death sentences in May 2015. Together with a number of other defendants, Habara was arrested in Sharqiya governorate in September 2013.

In the retrial of the Sharqiya case the death sentence against Habara was upheld and referred to the Grand Mufti on 5 November. A final decision is expected on 6 December, after the Grand Mufti issues his opinion.

In September, Zagazig criminal court upheld yet another death sentence against Habara after he was found guilty of establishing a terrorist group, contacting IS fighters in Iraq and Syria and staging attacks targetting the police and army.

During the course of the trials, Habara was handed two prison terms for insulting the court. On 6 May he received a two-year prison term for insulting the judiciary during a preliminary hearing and in April was handed one year in prison for disrespecting the court.

MB offices seized

A NUMBER of Cairo offices affiliated to the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, have been seized by the Egyptian government, a committee tasked with appraising and freezing the funds of the Brotherhood said in an official statement on Tuesday.

The committee also announced that it has seized a hospital, a school and two foreign exchange companies linked to the group.

The committee has thus far frozen the funds and taken control of over 1,000 NGOs and nearly 100 schools allegedly affiliated with the Brotherhood. The assets of over 700 of the group’s leaders have also been confiscated.

The Freedom and Justice Party was disbanded by a court ruling in 2014, while the Brotherhood itself was designated a terrorist group in 2013.

Al-Fakharani on trial

FORMER MP Hamdi Al-Fakharani was referred by General-Prosecutor Nabil Sadek to the Misdemeanor Court on charges of bribery and blackmail. The trial started yesterday.

Earlier in September, the public fund prosecution arrested Al-Fakharani, who is also head of the Anti-Corruption Association, for receiving LE5 million in a villa in Sheikh Al-Zayed from Somail Sabet, the head of the Nile Company for Ginning Cotton.

Sabet and Alaa Hassanein, a former MP, has filed a complaint at South College Court, charging Al-Fakharani with blackmailing Sabet to get LE5 million for persuading the governor of Minya to facilitate the division of land related to Sabet, which the state recovered, based on the judgement of the Administrative Court.

In 2013, Al-Fakharani was arrested near Damanhour for allegedly inciting violence against the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) headquarters in the governorate of Al-Gharbeya.

Al-Fakharani is known for having filed a string of lawsuits that exposed corruption before the 25 January Revolution in 2011, and is a vocal opponent of the Muslim Brotherhood. He was allegedly physically attacked by Muslim Brotherhood supporters in July 2012 and again in November 2012.

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