Egypt urged to halt nine executions in top prosecutor's murder


A rights group has called on Egyptian authorities to halt the execution of nine people convicted in the 2015 killing of Egypt's top prosecutor.

In a statement, Amnesty International said it "has learned that the nine could be put to death on Wednesday morning."

"Time is running out to save the lives of these nine men. The Egyptian authorities have an opportunity to do the right thing by immediately halting any plans to carry out these executions," said Najia Bounaim, Amnesty International's North Africa Campaigns Director.

The group said "some of the defendants said they were forcibly disappeared and tortured to confessing to the crime" during their trial.

"Executing prisoners or convicting people based on confessions extracted through torture is not justice," Bounaim said.

In November, Egypt's top appeals court confirmed death sentences for the nine people convicted in the murder of the country's chief prosecutor, Hisham Barakat. Nineteen others were given varying jail terms in the same case.

Barakat was killed in a car bombing near his house in Cairo in June 2015. He was the most senior Egyptian official to die in a spate of attacks following the military's 2013 ousting of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, a senior official from the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.    (dpa)

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