Egyptian court sentences 21 to death on terrorism charges

In this file photo, Egyptian policemen stand guard in front of the courtroom defendant's cage during a verdict hearing on a case, in Cairo, Egypt. (AP)
Updated 22 February 2018
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Egyptian court sentences 21 to death on terrorism charges

CAIRO: An Egyptian court sentenced on Thursday 21 people to death and seven others to up to life in prison over belonging to a group believed to be affiliated with the extremist Daesh group, the state-run MENA news agency reported.
Beside the 21 death sentences, the court handed down life sentences — which in Egypt are equal to 25 years — to four defendants, and 15-year-sentences to three others, MENA said.
The 28 on trial were charged with belonging to an outlawed group linked to Daesh, disrupting public order, possession of weapons and endangering society among other charges. Of the total, only 12 are in custody while the others — 16 suspects — are at large.
Rights groups have repeatedly criticized similar mass sentencings in Egypt and called on authorities to ensure fair trials.
Egyptian authorities have been carrying out a wide-ranging crackdown on dissent since the 2013 military overthrow of President Muhammad Mursi, arresting thousands of his supporters as well as some well-known secular activists.
Earlier on Thursday, six suspected members of the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group were ordered detained for 15 days, pending investigation over joining a “terrorist” group.
The six were arrested on Wednesday night on a farm allegedly belonging to detained former presidential candidate and “Strong Egypt” party leader, Abdel-Monaem Abul Fetouh. He was a longtime Brotherhood member before he quit the group in 2011.
Egypt listed Abul Fetouh on its terrorism list earlier this week, a designation that bans those on the list from travel, puts them on a watch list and grants authorities the right to freeze their assets. Over the past years, Egyptian authorities have put the names of hundreds, including senior Muslim Brotherhood figures, on the list.
The organization, which was founded in Egypt, was labeled as “terrorist” following the ouster of Mursi, a senior Brotherhood figure.


Three kidnapped Turkish engineers released in southern Libya

Updated 15 min 19 sec ago
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Three kidnapped Turkish engineers released in southern Libya

TRIPOLI: Three Turkish engineers kidnapped last year in the southern Libyan town of Ubari have been released, the UN-backed Libyan government said.
In November, an unknown armed group kidnapped four engineers, three from Turkey and one from South Africa. The engineers were working for the Turkish company Enka on a 640 MW power plant in Ubari deep in Libya’s south.
The fate of the South African is not known.
“The three Turkish engineers have been released,” the Tripoli-based government said in a statement, adding that they would be flown back to Turkey via Tripoli.
They were released on Saturday.
Kidnapping is rife in Libya, especially in the lawless south. Work at the Ubari plant has been going on for years and was in the final stages when the kidnapping happened.
A week after the four engineers were kidnapped the firm evacuated 93 of its staff from Libya.
Work on the power plant has stopped since that time, a blow to efforts to lure back foreign firms.
Most foreign companies have shied away from working in Libya because of security problems following the NATO-backed toppling of Muammer Qaddafi in 2011.