Egypt sentences 14 militants to death

Mon, Sep 24, 2012, 01:00

An Egyptian court has sentenced 14 militant Islamists to death by hanging and four to life imprisonment over attacks on army and police forces in the Sinai Peninsula last year.

The men, members of a militant group called Tawheed and Jihad, were charged by the prosecutor with killing three police officers, an army officer and a civilian in attacks carried out in June and July, 2011.

Eight of the 14 death sentences were in absentia, court sources said.

The verdicts were met with cries from the accused against President Mohamed Mursi, the Islamist head of state elected this year and who the defendants blamed for the court's decision.

"Mursi is an infidel and those who follow him are infidels," shouted one defendant.

Others cried "God is Great" as they listened to the judge from inside the metal cage in which they stood during trial sessions.

Egypt's Sinai has suffered from faltering security since former president Hosni Mubarak was swept from power in a popular uprising in February 2011. Egypt's army and police launched a sweep after a raid that killed 16 Egyptian border guards in August.

Reuters