Egypt has sentenced 21 people to death on charges of involvement in terror activities as the North African country presses ahead with a campaign to contain an insurgency linked to the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
The state-run MENA news agency reported Thursday that the court also handed down hefty prison sentences to seven more people, accusing all the defendants in the case of belonging to a group linked to Daesh.
The court said in its ruling that the convicts had been involved in activities disrupting public order, possessed weapons and endangered society, among other charges. Of the total 28 defendants, 16 were tried in absentia.
The sentences are the latest to come from Egypt’s Judiciary as the government of president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi faces increasing criticism over its inability to stop terrorist attacks across the country.
Experts say Sisi’s large-scale crackdown on dissent has been a main reason behind the continued unrest in Egypt.
Courts have jailed tens of thousands of members or sympathizers of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, while its senior leaders, including former president Mohamed Morsi, face death or life sentences.
A court on Thursday ordered six suspected Brotherhood members to remain in custody for 15 days pending investigation. The six were arrested on Wednesday on a farm belonging to Abdel-Monaem Abul Fetouh, a former Brotherhood leader and an outspoken government critic.
Abul Fetouh was arrested last week after he returned from a trip to London. MENA reported Tuesday that Fetouh, along with 15 others, was added to Egypt’s terrorism list after it was found that they had allegedly joined an outlawed organization “aiming to harm the interests of the state.”
Authorities have accused the popular activist, who was to contest the presidential election next month, of holding secret ties to Brotherhood leaders while abroad.