Egypt refers scores to trial over murder of prosecutor

Cairo (AFP) –


Egypt's state prosecutor on Sunday referred 67 people to trial over the assassination of a top prosecutor, a statement said, after authorities accused Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood of involvement.

Hisham Barakat, 64, was killed when a car bomb struck his convoy in the upscale east Cairo district of Heliopolis on June 29 last year.

Sunday's statement said an investigation showed that the accused were members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood who "conspired" with militants of the Gaza-based Islamist Palestinian group Hamas.

Some were "trained in Hamas camps" where they were taught how to make bombs and target people "to create chaos and instability", the statement added.

It did not say when the trial would begin.

In March, Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar said 14 members of the Muslim Brotherhood participated directly in the plan to murder Barakat.

"This plot was carried out on the orders of the Muslim Brotherhood... in close coordination with Hamas, which played a very important role in the assassination of the chief prosecutor from start to finish," he said at the time.

Hamas has denied any involvement in the killing.

Barakat was the most senior government official to be killed since jihadists began an insurgency in northern Sinai after the military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

After Morsi's ouster, the authorities launched a crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood movement that has left hundreds of people dead and thousands jailed.

Barakat was seen as a staunch opponent of the Islamist opposition and had referred thousands of people to trial.

No group has claimed responsibility for his murder.

The Brotherhood, for decades Egypt's main opposition movement, was blacklisted as a "terrorist group" in December 2013.