A military court sentenced eight people to death on Wednesday, charged with the 2015 murder of Police Colonel Wael Tahoun. Sixteen others were handed life sentences, and 10 of the defendants were sentenced in absentia.
The North Cairo Military Court acquitted 26 other defendants who faced charges of incitement to murder, among whom were three members of the Muslim Brotherhood Guidance Bureau; Mahmoud Ghozlan, Abdel Rahman al-Barr and Mohamed Taha Wahdan.
The case dates back to 2015, when unknown shooters fired 47 bullets into the colonel’s vehicle near Tahoun’s home in east Cairo, killing him and the soldier who was driving, the Interior Ministry reported. Tahoun, who formerly headed the Matareya Police Station, worked at the Interior Ministry’s Public Security Department at the time of his murder.
The court issued the preliminary death sentences on December 31, and referred the papers to Egypt’s grand mufti for review ahead of Wednesday’s session.
Military courts have issued several mass death sentences in past months, the most recent of which was handed on to Hesham Ashmawy and nine others in the case publicly known as “Ansar Beit al-Maqdes 3” on December 28.
Egyptian authorities have also carried out a series of death sentences issued by military courts, the first of which took place on December 26, when 15 people accused of killing security forces in 2013 were executed in Wadi al-Natrun prison.
Most recently, the Interior Ministry executed three civilians on January 10 charged with rape by a military tribunal in 2011.
Following the executions, several Egyptian human rights organizations issued a joint statement condemning the authorities’ increased use of the death sentence, writing that “carrying on with the issuance of death sentences will not accomplish justice, and continuing to carry out these sentences issued by military tribunals undermines the values of justice and life.”