Egypt executes nine persons for killing Barakat, the attorney-general

Hisham Barakat
Attorney-general Hisham Barakat: killed by bombing four years ago

Egyptian authorities have executed nine men convicted over the 2015 killing of the country’s attorney-general, Hisham Barakat, the Egyptian newspaper, El Watan reported Wednesday.

The men were among a group of 28 who were sentenced to death in the case in 2017. Barakat was killed in a car bomb attack on his convoy in the capital, Cairo.

Egypt blamed the Muslim Brotherhood and Gaza-based Hamas militants for the operation. Both groups denied having a role.

Rights group Amnesty International had appealed on Tuesday for authorities to halt the executions, citing testimony by the defendants that they had been secretly detained and tortured into confessing.

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Flashback to 2015: the bombing of Hisham Barakat

Since 2013, the year that then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi military ousted President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptian criminal courts have issued hundreds of death sentences.

Only a small proportion have been carried out, though the rate of executions has risen since 2015, rights activists say.

El Watan newspaper said the executions were carried out on Wednesday morning. The newspapers gave the names of the executed as Ahmad Taha, Abu Alqasim Ahmed, Ahmed Jamal Hijazi, Mahmoud Al Ahmadi, Abu Bakr Al Sayed, Abdul Rahman Sulaiman, Ahmed Mohammed, Ahmed Mahrous Sayed and Islam Mohammed.

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The newspaper also published the confessions of the men about their involvement in the assassination of Barakat by bombing.

Their execution followed six others carried out earlier this month. Three of those were convicted over the killing of a police office in September 2013, and three over the killing of a judge’s son the following year.

In both cases the defendants or their lawyers had said torture was used to extract confessions, according to Amnesty International.

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Sisi, who was elected president in 2014 and re-elected last year, says he is working to bring stability and security to Egypt following the turmoil of the 2011 uprising.

*With reports by Reuters

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