Agence France-Presse

An Egyptian court on Sunday upheld death sentences for nine people convicted of the murder of a top prosecutor in a car bombing three years ago, a judiciary source said.

Hisham Barakat was killed in June 2015 when a bomb struck his convoy in Cairo after jihadist calls for attacks on the judiciary to avenge a crackdown on Islamists.

Two years later an Egyptian criminal court sentenced 28 people to death for their involvement in his murder, with only 15 defendants present in court for the verdict at the time.

On Sunday, Egypt’s court of cassation confirmed the death sentence for nine of the 15, while reducing the sentences of the six others to life imprisonment, the judicial source said.

The verdicts of the other defendants were not considered because they had been sentenced in absentia.

No one claimed the attack against Barakat but the authorities pointed the finger at members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

Since Morsi’s overthrow by the military in 2013, Egypt has struggled to quell a jihadist insurgency and cracked down on Islamists who backed him.

Hundreds of Morsi supporters have been sentenced to death, while the former president and top Brotherhood figures have also faced trial.

The Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed and branded a terrorist organisation in December 2013, months after Morsi’s ouster.

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