Cairo sentences four to death for 'fabricated' IS links

Cairo sentences four to death for 'fabricated' IS links
Human rights activists blast Egypt's use of capital punishment as a means of 'political revenge'.
1 min read
05 September, 2016
Hundreds of death sentences have been handed out in Egypt since 2013 [AFP]

An Egyptian court sentenced four people to death on Sunday for being part of a group dubbed the 'Tanta cell' allegedly linked to the Islamic State group. 

Two defendants were also jailed for 15 years each, along with another six who were handed ten years each for forming an IS cell in northern Egypt, an anonymous judicial source told Anadolu Agency.

The court acquitted one individual of all charges.

Defence lawyer Mosaad al-Hamaki blasted the charges as "fabricated" and insisted his clients' innocence.

"The accused don't have any political affiliations," he told Anadolu

Egyptian activist and executive director of the Arab Network for Human Rights Information [ANHRI] Gamal Eid also questioned the verdict, describing death sentences in Egypt as a tool of political revenge. 

Since the overthrow of Egypt's first democratically elected president in 2013, the number of death sentences handed out by Egyptian courts has risen dramatically. Among those who have received capital punishment judgements are Egypt's ousted president Mohamad Morsi, and hundreds of protesters and journalists.

In the same period, Egypt has battled an IS-linked Islamist insurgency in the restive Sinai province that has targeted the country's security forces, killing hundreds of servicemen.

This has led to a security crackdown and a military campaign against IS affiliates in the country.