Islamic militant accused of plotting murder faces jail

A member of the Gamaa Islamiya who planned and took part in the killings of security leaders faces 50 years in jail but not the death penalty after the Supreme Security Court took his illness into account Thursday.

Abdul Hamid Abu Aqrab, convicted of planning and participating in the assassination of security leaders in Assiut, Upper Egypt, in 1994 and 1995, received the sentence from Judge Abdallah Abu Hashim, who presided over the ruling, and fellow judges Saad Megahed and Hani al-Bardini.

The court session took place in the North Cairo court amid strong security presence. Standing behind bars, Abu Aqrab read Quaranic verses. Megahed asked security forces to release the accused and said that the court took his physical condition into consideration but not his blindness. Megahed told Abu Aqrab that the court calls on him to be a good member of society and decided to sentence him in his presence for 25 years in prison for the charge of killing Mohammed Abdul Latif al-Shimi, assistant security director, and two of his guards. In addition, the court sentenced Abu Aqrab to 25 years for killing Sherin Fahmi, a state security leader in Assiut, as well as his team of guards.

The accused reacted to the ruling by repeating a Quaranic verse, following which the court’s president ordered the guards to transport him to jail.

Abu Aqrab’s lawyer and his cousin stood next to him and spoke to him quietly, exchanging smiles. His lawyer said the accused had asked him to communicate two messages to the people irrespective of the outcome of the ruling. The first is that he is innocent of the two crimes and the second, addressed to the family’s victims, is that he innocent of the charges against him and that it suffices that God knows that his innocent. 

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