Amnesty: Egypt executions are based on grossly unfair trials

Amnesty International said the death sentences that have recently carried out in Egypt were issued following grossly unfair trials, where defendants were denied access to their lawyers and were coerced to ‘confess’.

While ‘We Record’ human rights organization reported that 17 detainees were executed by Egyptian authorities on Monday, Amnesty, citing Egyptian Interior Ministry, reported that 9 detainees were executed.

According to We Record human rights organization, the Egyptian authorities on Monday, 26 April 2021, executed 17 detainees, related to Case No. 12749 of 2013, known in the media as the ‘Kerdasa police station storming’ case, including two elderly people: Sheikh Abdel Rehim Gibril and Sheikh Mostafa Al Qarfash, who are both teachers of the Holy Qur’an.

“Today’s execution of nine people is a chilling demonstration of the Egyptian authorities’ disregard for the right to life and their obligations under international law,” Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director, Philip Luther said commenting on reports of executing 9 people by the Egyptian regime on Monday, ‘including an 82-year-old man, after a grossly unfair trial”, adding, “By carrying out these executions during the holy month of Ramadan the Egyptian authorities have displayed a ruthless determination to persist with their escalating use of the death penalty. The use of the death penalty is abhorrent in all circumstances, and in Egypt it is extremely concerning that it is used after unfair trials, with courts routinely relying on torture-tainted ‘confessions’”.

“These death sentences were issued following a grossly unfair trial in which defendants were denied access to their lawyers and were coerced to ‘confess’. According to international law, proceedings in capital cases must scrupulously observe fair trial standards and carrying out executions after unfair trials violates the right to life,” Philip Luther said.

Amnesty International called upon the Egyptian authorities to “immediately put a stop to this alarming surge in executions. We call on states worldwide to take a clear stance by publicly condemning Egypt’s use of the death penalty and urging the government to immediately establish an official moratorium on executions, as a first step towards abolishing the death penalty,” Mr. Luther said.

Sisi and freedom

Sarcastically, three days ago, 24 April 2021, Abdel Fattah El Sisi told German newspaper Die Welt that “security should not come at the expense of freedom, even in a country that lives in difficult conditions like Egypt, denying the imprisonment of any person in Egypt because of his political views”!!

In an interview with the widespread Die Welt last Saturday, Sisi said that “criticism is allowed for everyone, but it must be constructive criticism and not incitement”, stressing that stability is very important, especially in a country like Egypt with a population of 100 million people and youth constitute more than 60% of it.

“We want a constitutional state, but the incitement to a coup d’état is dangerous and unacceptable,” Sisi, who had himself led a coup d’état against the democratically elected president, said!!

In his interview with Die Welt, Sisi emphasized that “security should not come at the expense of freedom, even in a country that suffers from difficult conditions like ours. “Egypt is far from that”!!

‘Al Ikhtiar 2’ serial paved the way for executions

Many observers believe that Al Ikhtiar 2 (The Choice 2), a popular Ramadan serial airing during the holy month of Ramadan and funded by a production company owned by the country’s security agencies, paved the way for these chilling executions.

The controversial serial, Al Ikhtiar 2,  adopted the narrative of security agencies – via showing reconstructed footage of the Kerdasa police station alleged raid and the Rabaa dispersal (massacre) – and overlooked facts, some of which were even stated by courts that refuted many of the allegations promoted by security services.

The security services-orchestrated serial that aroused the rage of social media activists that lived these events themselves, has been inciting against detainees and accordingly paved the way for their execution while the rest of the serial episodes are still aired.

Last week, Amnesty International’s annual death penalty report revealed that the number of recorded executions in Egypt tripled in 2020 making it the world’s third most frequent executioner after China and Iran.

In December 2014, Giza Criminal Court convicted 184 people, sentencing 183 to death and a child to 10 years in prison in relation to the attack on Kerdasa police station. During a retrial at the Cairo Criminal Court in July 2017 20 people were sentenced to death. In September 2018, Egypt’s Court of Cassation upheld their death sentences. Nine Egyptian human rights organizations denounced the verdict, highlighting gross violations of fair trial rights including defendants being denied access to their lawyers during their detention, and during interrogation and being forced to “confess”. Three other men in the same case were executed on 4 October 2020.