A Mansoura criminal court upheld a death sentence given to a man accused of belonging to a terrorist cell, inciting violence and receiving training in Gaza.
The accused was sentenced alongside numerous other defendants who received life sentences.
Amer Mosaad Abdel-Hamid’s sentence of death by hanging was ratified by the Grand Mufti for the charges that claim he belonged to a Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated terrorist cell targeting and killing the movement’s opponents in Mansoura. Abdel-Hamid, 29, the alleged leader of the cell, is also accused in the trial court of having received militancy training in Gaza.
Alongside Abdel-Hamid, 13 others received life imprisonment, though it is understood that most or all of them were tried in absentia.
At the time of Abdel-Hamid’s arrest in December 2013, the Ministry of Interior released a statement allegedly confessing that, alongside other Brotherhood members, they were trained on how to “target state facilities, wreak chaos across the country and disturb public peace and security”.
In a statement attributed to Abdel-Hamid published online a few hours before the verdict, he said he had been held in solitary confinement for over a year and was tortured into a guilty plea.
“Do not tell me there is nothing you can do, you can do a lot. Pray for me, tell the world about me, spread the news. Tell them I was tortured and confessed to be saved from the torture,” the statement reads. “I did not realise I would be awaiting four death sentences, tell them I do not deserve to be killed.”
Like the controversial execution of six men from the ‘Arab Sharkas cell’ Sunday, in Abdel-Hamid’s cases it is alleged by his supporters that some of the charges levelled against him occurred after he was arrested. Newspaper reports confirm that Abdel-Hamid was arrested 8 December 2013 for violence and belonging to a terrorist cell in Mansoura. However, Abdel-Hamid’s family have stated that included in the charges is responsibility for the 24 December bombing of the Daqahleya Security Directorate. Attempts to speak to Abdel-Hamid’s lawyer were unsuccessful.
The 24 December bombing led to the deaths of 14 people and partly destroyed the directorate building.
In a statement published by the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms, Abdel-Hamid’s family claim he will be the first Egyptian to receive four death sentences. They also reiterate that he was tortured in to confession and that the charges are fabricated.
Previously, Abdel-Hamid’s defence lawyer Mohamed El-Sherbini stressed there are discrepancies between the detective and police report and information reported by eyewitnesses.
While the mufti’s referral is necessary for the approval of a death sentence in the Egyptian legal system, this decision can still be appealed.
According to reporters attending the trial, security was heightened markedly, with surrounding roads closed and many security officers stationed. On Saturday, after the death sentence handed to Mohamed Morsi, three judges were killed in North Sinai. It was also reported that family members were barred from today’s trial at Mansoura criminal court.