The Cairo Criminal Court sentenced seven defendants to death by hanging on Monday over their involvement in the killing of 8 police officers in 2016 in a case dubbed by the media the “Helwan microbus cell.”
The defendants were tried on charges of killing one police officer and seven other low-ranking policemen, with the court also sentencing three others in the case to 15 years of rigorous imprisonment and 15 defendants to ten years of rigorous imprisonment, acquitting seven others.
The defendants also established a terrorist cell in order to carry out the crimes, according to the Court, which added that the individuals in question were funded and provided weapons by other “terrorists” operating both within Egypt and outside of the country.
The prosecution referred the defendants to the Criminal Court on charges of establishing and joining an illegal group in 2015 and 2016 in the Cairo and Giza governorates with the aim of preventing state institutions from exercising their duties, harming personal freedoms and disrupting the peace, and calling for the killing of Christians.
The prosecution charged the defendants with using terrorism to carry out their goals and providing the militant group with weapons, ammunition, and funding, charging them as well with the intentional murder of a police conscript in Giza Security Directorate.
Since 2014, Egypt has witnessed a growing number of terrorist attacks carried out by IS in the Sinai Province, including various operations targeting the army and the police. The increase in violent extremism in the country followed the ouster of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.