Egypt hangs nine for 2015 murder of top prosecutor
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.
"There is no doubt that those involved in deadly attacks must be prosecuted and held accountable for their actions but executing prisoners or convicting people based on confessions extracted through torture is not justice," said Amnesty's North Africa campaigns director, Najia Bounaim.
"At least six men have already been executed earlier this month after unfair trials. Instead of stepping up executions the Egyptian authorities should take steps to abolish the death penalty once and for all."
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 the 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 jihadist 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 organisation 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.
Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.