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CAIRO, Egypt - An Egyptian military court on Thursday sentenced 17 Islamic militants to death for involvement in deadly attacks on Christians, a rights lawyer said.
The court in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria also issued life sentences to 19 defendants and sentenced another nine to 15 years in prison on terror-related charges, lawyer Khaled el-Masry said. Another defendant got a 10-year term, he said.
Prosecutors - Defendants - Islamic - State - Group
Military prosecutors had accused the defendants of belonging to the Islamic State group and plotting attacks against Christian churches and security forces, el-Masry said. The verdict, which came after an approval from Egypt’s top religious authority, the Grand Mufi, can be appealed.
El-Masry said the defendants were tried for their involvement in a suicide bombing inside a Cairo chapel adjacent to St. Mark’s Cathedral, the seat of Egypt’s ancient Coptic Orthodox Church, in December 2016. The attack killed at least 25 people.
Bombings - Churches - Alexandria - Tanta - Palm
Some were convicted of plotting twin suicide bombings in churches in Alexandria and Tanta, on Palm Sunday in April 2017, killing at least 45 people, el-Masry said. Both attacks were claimed by the Islamic State group. Some were also convicted of killing eight police in a militant attack on a checkpoint in the Western Desert in January 2017.
The Palm Sunday bombings prompted President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to declare a state of emergency that is still in place.
Christians - Percent - Egypt - Population - Discrimination
Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s population. They have long complained of discrimination in the Muslim-majority nation and claim that authorities have often failed to protect them from sectarian attacks.
Rights group Amnesty International condemned the verdict, describing it as a “grossly unfair military trial” and demanding that...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Crux
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