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Egyptian court upholds death sentence for 21 suspected militants

Egypt’s highest civilian court on Thursday issued a final ruling upholding a death sentence for 21 suspected Islamist militants, a judicial source and the state news agency MENA said.

The defendants were convicted of belonging to Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis group, which changed its name to Sinai Province after pledging allegiance to the Islamic State.

The suspects were accused of carrying out dozens of deadly militant operations, including against state security facilities and officials.

Another 43 defendants had life prison sentences confirmed, while 10-year sentences were upheld for 23 defendants and five-year sentences for a further 53.

Rights groups say the rate of executions in Egypt has risen sharply since last year. Amnesty International said earlier this month that at least 83 people had been executed so far in 2021, many of them after unfair trials.

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