An Egyptian court sentenced a former special forces officer who turned into an Islamist militant along with 36 others to death as they were convicted of terrorism, on Saturday. The former officer named Ashmawy was captured in the eastern Libyan city of Derna in 2018 and was transferred by authorities loyal to commander Khalifa Haftar to Egypt in May last year.
The militant was convicted on several charges which include plotting an attack in 2014 which caused the death of 22 military guards near the frontier with Libya. He was also involved in an attempt to murder case of a former interior minister in 2013, as stated by the military.
Ashmawy was the leader of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis
Ashmawy led the Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, Egypt's most active militant group, before it pledged allegiance to Islamic State in 2014, it said. The other 36 defendants tried with him were also convicted of terrorism charges, the court ruled.
Their cases were referred to the Grand Mufti, Egypt's highest Islamic legal official. Egyptian law requires any capital sentence to be referred to him for an opinion before executions can take place. The court set a new session for March 2 to confirm the convictions after receiving the Mufti's non-binding opinion.
In November, a military court had already sentenced Ashmawy to death in another terrorism case. Egyptian civilian and military courts had also sentenced Ashmawy to death in absentia before his extradition.