Court / Presiding Judge
Cairo Criminal Court/Judge Hassan Farid
In May 2014, the prosecutor-general referred 200 alleged members of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis to trial. In January 2015, 13 more defendants were added to the case. In March 2015, the Cairo Criminal Court began hearing the case; since then, it has been adjourned several times.
Case still pending.
Summary of Reasoning
The defandants were referred to trial for their alleged involvement in over 50 acts of terrorism that left 40 police personnel and 15 civilians dead. They face a number of charges including establishing, leading and joining a terrorist group, assaulting citizens’ rights and freedoms, harming national unity and societal peace, spying for Hamas, vandalizing state institutions, murder, and possession of weapons, ammunition, and explosives. The defendants are also accused of being complicit in a September 2013 assassination attempt on the minister of interior.
Of the 213 defendants, 143 are being tried in court; the remainder are being tried in absentia. A media gag has been instituted on the case as pertains to the testimony of at least one member of the security sector. In November 2014, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis changed its name to Wilayat Sinai and announced its affiliation with the Islamic State.
Legal & Judicial Implications
In the wake of the ratification of the 2015 Counter-terrorism Law, terrorism-related charges are heard by courts particularly designated to hear these cases. There is some concern that the concentration of all terrorist cases in the hands of a few justices may result in disproportionately harsh sentences. Further, there are also concerns on the large number of defendants in the case and whether the court will be able to accord each defendant the due process rights promised to them by the constitution, other domestic legislation, and international law.