The Ismailia Criminal Court on Tuesday sentenced 14 members of a Jihadist group to death for attacking a police station in the city of Arish in July of last year and killing army and police officers.
Gunmen had attacked the police department in the capital city of North Sinai Governorate on 29 July 2011. The ensuing crossfire left two police and army officers and three citizens dead. The attack came after a demonstration by a group believed to be Jihadists in which they raised Islamic banners.
The defendants faced charges of founding an illegal group, “Al-Tawheed wa al-Jihad,” which aims at suspending the provisions of the constitution and the law, hindering the work of state institutions and public authorities, using terrorism as a means of reaching goals, and assaulting police and armed forces personnel to disrupt public order, safety and security.
They were also charged with stealing three automatic rifles, 125 bullets and explosive materials.
The court had in previous sessions heard the testimonies of the witnesses, including the North Sinai security director, the military intelligence director, and the police officers who conducted the investigation.
The court ruled that the papers of convicts be sent to Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, which is routine for death sentences. The mufti’s opinion on the death penalty is consultative. The court set 24 September to read the ruling and continue trying the rest of the defendants.
Egyptian authorities say Al-Tawheed wa al-Jihad was behind the 7 October 2004 bombings in a Taba resort on the Egyptian-Israeli border, in Sharm el-Sheikh on 23 July 2005, and in Dahab on 24 April 2006.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm