Hisham Barakat: A long and divisive career

Hisham Barakat: A long and divisive career
2 min read
29 June, 2015
Egypt's state prosecutor, killed in a bomb blast on Monday, oversaw the highest number of political detentions in the country's modern history.
Hisham Barakat was killed by a bomb targeting his convoy [AFP]

Known as "the army's prosecutor", Hisham Barakat spent more than 40 years in the Egyptian court system, working his way up to the role of state prosecutor, before his death in a bomb that targeted his convoy on Monday morning.

Barakat, born on November 21, 1950, graduated from law school in 1973, and immediately began working in the prosecution service. Starting as an assistant, he quickly rose through the ranks, moving on to the judiciary, where he held a number of court positions.

This eventually led Barakat to the court of appeals, where he held a number of posts, before returning to his original home, the prosecution service.

It was in this role - to which he was sworn in the week after the July 2013 coup against President Mohamed Morsi - that he rose to infamy.

Barakat gave the green light to the armed forces to break up the anti-coup sit-ins at Rabaa and Nahda Squares in Cairo. After the troops went in, around 900 people were left dead, and more than 3,000 injured.

Barakat followed this up by putting approximately 1,000 protesters from Rabaa and Nahda on trial.

He also took part in pressing charges against Morsi and leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood for a mass jailbreak during the 2011 revolution against former President Hosni Mubarak.

Morsi's death sentence for his alleged part in the jailbreak was ratified by religious officials on June 16.

The Egyptian opposition accuses Barakat of being responsible for the deaths of more than 150 prisoners in government jails as a result of his refusal to transfer them to hospital after their health deteriorated.

During Barakat's two-year period as state prosecutor, there were more than 50,000 political detentions reported, according to local media sources.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.