Sisi at official's funeral vows speedy justice, hangings

2015-06-30 14:31
File: AFP

File: AFP

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Cairo - Egypt can no longer allow the law to delay "speedy justice" and outstanding death penalties must be implemented, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said on Tuesday at the funeral of the country's chief prosecutor killed in a bomb blast.

Surrounded by the family of slain Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat, Sisi said that "speedy justice" was "fettered by the law".

The criminal procedures law would be amended "within days" to ensure that justice would be carried out as quickly as possible, he said.

"We won't spend five or 10 years trying the people who are killing us," al-Sissi said, adding: "We will respect the law, but we'll make it a law that confronts [terrorism]."

Speaking after he led a procession of mourners at Barakat's military funeral, Sisi vowed that all sentences issued by the courts would be implemented.

Dozens of death sentences

"We are implementing the law. If a death sentence is passed, it will be implemented. If a life sentence is issued, it will be implemented," Sisi said.

Dozens of death sentences have been handed down to leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and to people accused of attacks on the police since Sisi, the then army chief, ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in 2013.

Earlier this month, Morsi himself and other top Brotherhood leaders were sentenced to hang for their alleged role in jailbreaks during the 2011 uprising against dictator Hosni Mubarak.

Those sentences drew condemnation from rights groups which said the trials were unfair, and were also criticized by European governments and the United States, which have been building up their relations with al-Sissi's government.

Also speaking at the funeral, Justice Minister Ahmed al-Zend said that the courts' summer recess would be cancelled to ensure that ongoing trials were finished as quickly as possible.

It is as yet unclear who was responsible for Monday's killing of Barakat, whose convoy was hit by a powerful car bomb as he made his way to work through northern Cairo.

Violence and political dissent

As prosecutor general, he played a key role in the crackdown on Islamist and, more recently, secular dissent.

According to figures from activists, over 40 000 people were detained or prosecuted in relation to violence and political dissent between Morsi's ouster and mid-2014.

Amid complaints of massive overcrowding in police cells, authorities recently opened a new remand prison on the outskirts of Cairo.

Barakat is the most senior figure to have fallen victim to a string of attacks on security officials since Morsi's removal.

Scores of police have been killed in gun and bomb attacks in the capital, many of which have been claimed by jihadist groups.

Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood says it is committed to purely peaceful protest, but the authorities accuse it of involvement in the attacks.

Read more on:    abdel fattah al-sisi  |  egypt  |  north africa

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