Egypt executes Islamic extremist Hesham Ashmawy
CAIRO - Egypt executed top Islamist militant Hesham Ashmawy after he was convicted of involvement in high-profile jihadist attacks in Egypt and the region.
“The execution by hanging was carried out based on a decision by the military court… and after taking all the relevant judicial procedures,” said army spokesman Tamer al-Rifai.
Ashmawy — dubbed Egypt’s “most wanted man” by local media — was a former officer with Egypt’s special forces who went on to fight with al-Qaeda linked groups.
On March 2, a Cairo court sentenced Ashmawy and 36 other people to death for having been convicted for 54 crimes, including killing police officers and setting off explosives at security installations.
Ashmawy, 42, joined the Egyptian armed forces as a young man and became a member of an elite unit but was dismissed in 2012 over his hardening religious views.
He was convicted last November by a military court for his role in 14 crimes, including the 2014 killing of 22 soldiers in a border post attack and a 2013 assassination attempt on a former interior minister.
Ashmawy was also found guilty of having led the Ansar Beit al-Maqdis Islamist militant group in the Sinai region. Ashmawy broke with the organisation after it pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in November 2014.
Other charges against him included infiltrating Libyan territories and forming an al-Qaeda aligned militant group, al-Mourabitoun, there.
In October 2018, the Libyan National Army captured Ashmawy in the eastern city of Derna and he was extradited to Egypt in May.
Egypt has for years been fighting an insurgency in North Sinai that escalated after the army’s 2013 ouster of Islamist President Muhammad Morsi.