Court adjourns Hesham Barakat assassination trial

Cairo Criminal Court adjourned on Monday the trial of 67 defendants accused of assassinating Egypt's former top prosecutor Hesham Barakat.

The court set a date of July 13 for the next session, allowing the various parties time to study the case.

Of the 67 defendants, 15 are being tried in absentia. The court has ruled that the 52 defendant held in custody during the trial can receive visits from their family members and lawyers.

The defendants face charges of premeditated murder, association with a terrorist organization and being in possession of weapons and explosives.

Barakat died of his injuries after a car-bomb attack in Cairo on June 29, 2015. The car bomb struck his convoy as it was leaving his home in Cairo.

Initially, sources said a car-bomber had rammed into the convoy, but it was later decided that the bomb was detonated remotely. Two civilians and two policemen were also wounded.

A little-known group calling itself the "Giza Popular Resistance" posted a statement on Facebook claiming responsibility for the attack, but the claim was taken down a few hours later.

Prior to the attack, Islamic State's affiliate in Egypt, the Sinai Province group, urged followers to attack judges.

The Sinai Province group was initially known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, but changed its name in 2014, after it pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.

Sinai Province claimed responsibility for the killing of three judges in the north Sinai city of Arish in May 2015.

Barakat was appointed as chief prosecutor following the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

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