Egypt Sentences 37 Alleged ISIS Members to Death
An Egyptian court has sentenced to death 37 alleged terrorists, most of them suspected members of the Islamic State’s affiliate in the Sinai Peninsula, where Cairo has been waging a years-long military campaign. According to reports, those receiving the death penalty include Hisham el-Ashmawi, the founder of Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the precursor to today’s Sinai Province group. He was captured in Libya in late 2018 by forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar, a renegade general seeking to wrest power from a UN-backed government in Tripoli, and a close ally of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The 37 people sentenced to death are among more than 200 people convicted of planning or perpetrating over 50 attacks, including bombings targeting police headquarters in Cairo in which high-ranking officers were killed. In 2015, Ashmawi allied himself with ISIS’s main rival, al-Qaida, which is led by the Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahri. Some human rights groups have criticized recurring mass sentencings in Egypt, whose government has been accused of using the anti-terrorism efforts as a cover to curb various civil liberties.