Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi
Abdel Fattah Al-SisiReuters

An Egyptian military court on Wednesday upheld life sentences for 32 people accused of plotting to kill President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and a former Saudi crown prince, their lawyer said, according to AFP.

The court "decided to reject all appeals" and uphold the verdict for all but two defendants, whose sentences were reduced to 15 years, Khaled al-Masry wrote on Facebook.

A life sentence in Egypt is capped at 25 years' imprisonment.

The defendants were charged with setting up "terrorist cells" that committed crimes, including planning to assassinate Sisi and Saudi Arabia's former crown prince and interior minister, Mohammed bin Nayef.

Excerpts from a public prosecutor's investigation in 2016 published in local media revealed the defendants were plotting to assassinate Sisi and the crown prince while they were on pilgrimage to the Islamic holy city of Mecca in 2014.

A military criminal court handed down life sentences to the 32 suspects in June 2019. Of the more than 290 defendants originally appearing in the case, 264 were sentenced to between three and 15 years in jail, according to AFP.

The suspects were arrested on charges of belonging to an Islamic State (ISIS) group affiliate known as Sinai Province, which has been active in Egypt's restive North Sinai region.

Egypt has been fighting an insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula for several years, which at times has spilled over into other parts of the country. Most of the attacks during this time period have been claimed by Sinai Province.

The country has been under a state of emergency since April of 2018, after two suicide bombings at churches claimed by ISIS killed at least 45 people in the cities of Tanta and Alexandria.

In February of 2018, Egypt launched operation “Sinai 2018” in an effort to rid the Sinai Peninsula of Islamic terrorists.

To date, over 1,070 suspected terrorists and dozens of security personnel have been killed in northern Sinai, according to official figures.