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The issuance of more than 1264 death sentences threatens the right to life in Egypt


Cairo 23rd June 2014

 

The issuance of more than 1264 death sentences threatens the right to life in Egypt

 

The Arab Center for Independence of the Judiciary and Legal Professions (ACIJLP) calls upon the Egyptian authorities to immediately halt the death penalty and abolish it from the Egyptian laws and legislation, as well as the freezing the executions in general, especially those issued after the revolution of July 30, 2013.

The ACIJLP points out that since July 30, 2013, and within one year some courts have issued death sentences that may exceed what had been issued by the Egyptian judiciary in the previous years.  The total number of death sentences in the period referred to reached more than 1264 death sentence, while the Egyptian judiciary issued 136 death sentences in 2009, in 2010 the number reached 134 sentences, and in 2011 the number reached 115 sentences.

On Monday 24th March 2014, Minya Criminal Court has issued a ruling to refer the papers of 529 person to the office of the grand mufti to obtain his legitimate opinion for being accused of broke into a police station and killed one officers and the attempt to murder of another.  On 28th April 2014, Minya Criminal Court (southern Egypt) issued a ruling to refer the papers of 683 person to the office of the grand mufti for perusal in the incidents of attacking and burning of Adwa police station in north Minya and disturbing the public peace, and encroachment on state buildings in the wake of the dispesing Rabaa al-Adawiya and al-Nahda square sit-in.

On Wednesday, 19th March 2014, the Criminal Court of north Cairo issued a death sentence of 26 defendants in a case of accusing them of committing crimes of establishing and managing a terrorist group targeted assault on the freedom of people and harming national unity and waterway of the Suez Canal .

 

On Thursday, 19th June 2014, Giza Criminal Court referred the papers of 14 accused in the events of "Al-Estkama mosque” to the Mufti of the Republic to solicit his opinion on the execution.

Finally, on Saturday, 21st June 2014 Minya Criminal Court sentenced to death 183 person in the case of attacking a police station in Minia Governorate.

The ACIJLP points out that the Egyptian legislation exacerbate in the application of the death penalty for many crimes that do not fit in terms of gravity and severity, in spite of the accession and ratification of many international covenants by Egypt that ensure the protection of the right to life. The ACIJLP believe that the Egyptian judiciary must face the excessive application of the death penalty through judicial decisions; however the sentences issued since July 30, 2013 raises many concerns about the rulings of the Egyptian judiciary to issue death sentences in an excessive way.

The ACIJLP stresses the need to provide all defendants with the guarantees of fair and equitable trial and to take into account safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty, which adopted in resolution50/1984 of the Economic and Social Council on 25th May 1984. The ACIJLP calls upon the Egyptian government to put into consideration resolution 162/49of the UN General Assembly issued on December 18, 2007 and Resolution 63/168 issued on December 18, 2008 and its last resolution 65/2006 issued on December 21, 2010 which demanded the States Parties to freeze the application of the death penalty as a prelude to its abolition.

The ACIJLP calls upon the Egyptian authorities to take the necessary legislative measures to counter the legislative application of the death penalty and demands Egypt to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on the abolition of the death penalty, as well as the development of alternative sentences to the death penalty because death penalty is considered cruel, degrading and inhuman penalty.

The ACIJLP also calls upon ensuring standards and guarantees of fair trials in courts and prosecutors in Egypt till the ratification of the protocol referred to, including the right to appeal to a higher court, "two degrees of litigation" and to provide guarantees of the right to defense.