The Court of Cassation sentenced six people to death and three others to life in prison on Wednesday for killing an enlisted police officer in Egypt’s northern city of Mansoura in February 2014. The ruling is final and cannot be appealed.
Policeman Abdallah Metwally was part of a protection unit for Judge Hussein Qandil, one of the judges in former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi’s trial for the Ettehadiya palace clashes in 2012.
The defendants were convicted of premeditated murder, illegal arms possession and forming a terrorist cell with the intention to target security forces in Mansoura, lawyer Mohsen al-Bahnessy told Mada Masr on Wednesday.
Mansoura Criminal Court previously sentenced nine people to death, handed 12 defendants life sentences and gave several others 10 years in the same case, but on appeal the sentences were reduced. Two of the defendants previously sentenced to death were given life sentences on Wednesday, a third is at large, and four were acquitted.
The defendants with the harshest sentences were implicated in the murder of the policeman, while others with shorter prison terms were convicted of monitoring other police personnel in the area with the intention to harm them.
Many of the defendants confessed to the murder of the policeman under torture, Bahnessy explained. The defendants’ families corroborated this, adding that they were held in inhumane conditions in Mansoura prison, where they were denied access to medical treatment. A number of them were forcibly disappeared in March 2014, for periods that ranged from a week to several months.
One of the defendants, Bassem Mohsen, was missing for three months and was reportedly tortured in the notorious Al-Azouly prison. Three other defendants reportedly faced similar conditions in Al-Aqrab prison.
This is the third in a series of final rulings sentencing defendants to death since hundreds of Morsi supporters were handed death sentences after the former president’s ousting in 2013. Many of these death sentences were overturned on appeal, but two were upheld: A military court ruling against six defendants in the case of the Arab Sharkas cell in May 2015, and against Adel Habara, who was accused of killing 25 soldiers in North Sinai in 2014. Habara was executed in December 2016.