Two militant Muslims were condemned to death Tuesday by a military court for their role in the attempted murder of Naguib Mahfouz, the Egyptian writer and Nobel Prize laureate.
The court sentenced two other defendants to life imprisonment for their involvement in the stabbing attack on Mahfouz outside his Cairo home on Oct. 14. Three of the 16 defendants were acquitted, and nine others received sentences ranging from three to 15 years.
Mahfouz, who was attacked as he sat in a car outside his home waiting to be driven to a literary meeting, was seriously wounded. He later called on the government to crush terrorism in Egypt. Islamic radicals have been trying to overturn the secular government.
Mahfouz was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988, the only such prize given to an Egyptian. His most famous works, including “Midaq Alley” and “Khan el-Khalili,” depict the lives of ordinary people in Cairo.
The defendants are followers of the radical Egyptian cleric Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, the Interior Ministry said.
Abdel-Rahman is on trial in New York in connection with a plot to blow up New York landmarks.