Egypt: Highest death sentences issued in 2021 worldwide, report

Egypt carried out at least 83 executions in 2021, the third-highest total in the world, according to a report released yesterday by Amnesty International.

The Amnesty International report also stated that Egyptian courts sentenced 356 people to death in 2021, the highest number of death sentences worldwide

Death sentences in Egypt “continued to be imposed in grossly unfair proceedings and carried out in mass executions,” the organization noted. Three more people were handed death sentences on 24 May.

The report found that some of the highest executioners in the world are in the Middle East and North Africa, with Iran, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia responsible for 80 per cent of executions.

Egypt carried out at least 83 executions last year, the third-highest total in the world, according to a new Amnesty report. Death sentences “continued to be imposed in grossly unfair proceedings and carried out in mass executions”.

Another report published by the ​​Transparency Center for Research, Documentation, and Data Management (TADMR) on May 23 recorded more than sixteen thousand detentions, arrests, or summons of individuals for political reasons, including participation in protests, in 2020 and 2021.

The figures do not include North Sinai, which remains under a media blackout.

Recent reports suggest that Egypt has postponed carrying out death sentences as pressure builds internally to stave off protests as prices continue to soar after the Russian invasion of Ukraine compounded inflation.

In March the UN called on Egypt to introduce a moratorium on the use of the death penalty after seven people were executed after a trial that did not meet due process standards.

At the time Amnesty said that at least six of them had been forcibly disappeared and tortured for “confessions” used to convict them.

On May 23, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders Mary Lawlor published a letter voicing concern over Egyptian authorities’ targeting of five Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) members.

The five human rights defenders are EIPR’s Executive Director Hossam Bahgat, former Executive Director Gasser Abdel Razek, researcher Patrick George Zaki, research advisor Karim Ennarah, and administrative manager Gasser Abdel Razek. In their communication, Lawlor and other UN human rights experts “express serious concern as to the criminalization of [the five’s] legitimate human rights activities … which have been equated to involvement in terrorism, publishing rumors and false news, and incitement with no credible evidence provided.”

The experts voiced concern over the government’s continued abuse of vague counter-terrorism legislation to target human rights defenders critical of the regime. In addition, they criticized the continuing investigation of EIPR in Case 173/2011 and the asset freezes and travel bans against Bahgat, Abdel Razek, Ennarah, and Bashir.

The communication was made public after Egypt’s government failed to respond within 60 days. Lawlor noted that there has been “no reply to this or many previous communications on their case.”