EGYPT. STATE SECURITY COURT SENTENCES 3 MILITANTS TO DEATH
November 30, 2006: a state security court in Ismailiya, 75 miles east of Cairo, convicted and sentenced to death three Islamic militants for their role in a suicide attack that killed 34 people at tourist resorts in the Sinai town of Taba in 2004.
The three belonged to the militant group Tawhid and Jihad, which Egyptian security officials and prosecutors said carried out two other bombings against Sinai resorts that killed another 87 people - Sharm el-Sheik in July 2005 and Dahab in April. Israeli security officials said they suspect al-Qaida played a part in the attacks.
The Egyptian government, however, said the Sinai militants were local Islamic extremists who did not have international connections. The trial did not look into the suspects' alleged al-Qaida link.
The three top defendants, Younes Mohammed Mahmoud, Osama al-Nakhlawi and Mohammed Jaez Sabbah, were convicted and sentenced to death for terrorism, murder, illegal possession of weapons, and belonging to a terrorist group in connection to the Taba attack. The October 2004 bombings targeted the Taba Hilton hotel, near the Israeli border, and a nearly simultaneous blast went off in the nearby Red Sea resort of Ras Shitan. Eleven Israelis were among the 34 killed.
After the verdict, defense lawyer Ahmed Seif el-Islam denounced the sentences as ``unjust.''
In state security courts, the accused do not have the right of appeal; they may appeal for clemency only to President Hosni Mubarak. Several of the defendants said they were tortured to give confessions. The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, the oldest rights advocate in the country, said the trial before a state security court was illegal because it deprived the accused of their right to appeal. The group called for a retrial before an ordinary court. (Sources: AP, 30/11/2006)