CAIRO: The Zaqaziq Criminal Court upheld Tuesday death sentences against six militants including Adel Habara on charges of joining a jihadist group, Youm7 reported.
On May 27, the court sentenced the defendants to death over numerous charges including “associating with the Islamic State (IS) militant group, possessing ammunition, explosives and targeting police and army personnel,” Youm7 reported.
The defendants appealed the said ruling before the court upheld it Tuesday. However, the convicts still have the right to appeal for the last time. If the appeal is rejected, the ruling will be final while if accepted, the convicts will be granted a retrial before the Court of Cassation.
Only two defendants, including Habara, were present at Tuesday’s hearing while the others were sentenced to death in absentia.
In December 2014, Habara along with six co-defendants were sentenced to death in the case known as “Rafah II Massacre,” in which 25 junior policemen were killed in northern Sinai in August 2013.
In May 2014, Habara was sentenced to two years in prison for insulting the judiciary during a hearing in which he kept speaking up to disagree with the court.
Egypt has witnessed a significant rise in militancy since the military-backed ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 following mass protests against his rule. According to the Interior Ministry, militant attacks have killed more than 500 security personnel since then.
The Sinai-based militant group formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) has claimed responsibility for several attacks on security forces mainly in Sinai. The group pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS) group and changed its name to Wilayat Sinai (Sinai Province) in 2014.