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OAN’s Roy Francis
10:28 AM – Tuesday, May 30, 2023
A Libyan court sentenced 23 suspected Islamic State group militants to death for attacks which killed dozens of people that include Egyptian Coptic Christians, and seizing the city of Sirte in 2015.
Along with the 23 members who were sentenced to death, the appeals court in the western city of Misrata also sentenced 14 other ISIS members to life in prison, as well as one for 12 years in prison, six to 10 years, one to five, and six to three years. Five people were acquitted by the court, and three others had died before their case had made it to the court.
The Libyan branch of the Islamic Sate had taken advantage of the chaos and warfare in the country following the 2011 uprising, which had toppled and killed longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi.
In 2015, the Libyan group had attacked the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli. In the attack, nine people were killed and dozens of Egyptian Christians were abducted and beheaded. The deaths of the abducted Christians were featured in brutal propaganda films made by the ISIS.
The group seized the coastal city of Sirte after gaining territory in Benghazi, Derna, and Ajdabiya in eastern Libya. The group held the city until late 2016, during that time they had enforced harsh public moral regime, backed by brutal punishments.
The Libyan branch grew to be the strongest branch of the group outside of Syria and Iraq.
The militants were driven out of the city in December 2016 by forces who fought for the former United Nations-backed Government of National Accord. Derna was reclaimed by Khalifa Hifter two years later.
According to Reuters, the head of an organization for bereaved families of people killed or disappeared by the group, Mustafa Salem Trabulsi, said that he had hoped all the suspects would face the death penalty but he accepted the outcome.
“My son is missing and my relative, my brother-in-law, was murdered in Sirte Square,” he said.
Hundreds of alleged Islamic State Fighter have been incarcerated in Libyan prisons awaiting trial.
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