Sisi pledges tougher laws after prosecutor killing

Hisham Barakat was the most senior official assassinated since the overthrow of Mohamed Mursi

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A visibly angry Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi pledged tougher laws against militants at the funeral on Tuesday of top prosecutor Hisham Barakat, assassinated in a Cairo car bombing.

“The arm of justice is chained by the law. We’re not going to wait for this. We’re going to amend the law to allow us to implement justice as soon as possible,” Sisi said in a televised speech surrounded by Barakat’s mourning relatives.

Barakat died of his wounds in hospital hours after a powerful car bomb tore through his convoy in an upscale Cairo district on Monday morning.

He was the most senior official assassinated since militants launched an insurgency following the 2013 overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi led by Sisi, who was then defence minister.

“Do courts in these circumstances work? Do these laws work? They work with normal people,” said Sisi, shaking a clenched fist for emphasis.

Barakat’s assassination has come as a blow to the president, who won elections last year pledging to wipe out militants.

Hundreds of policemen and soldiers have been killed in the insurgency based in the sparsely populated Sinai Peninsula. The Islamic State group’s affiliate there has claimed responsibility for the deadliest attacks.

At least 1,400 people, most of them Morsi supporters, have been killed in a police crackdown on protests.

Meanwhile thousands of people, mostly Islamists but also including secular dissidents, have been jailed and hundreds sentenced to death.

Many of those sentenced to death are appealing the verdicts, a lengthy and convoluted process, but Sisi suggested it would be fast tracked.

“If there is a death sentence, a death sentence will be implemented,” Sisi said. “The law! The law!”

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