GENEVA (25 February 2019) – UN human rights experts* deplore the executions in Egypt of nine men convicted on the basis of evidence allegedly obtained under torture, and express their dismay at the continued disregard of the legal process.
Egyptian authorities went ahead with the executions of the nine men in the early hours of 20 February, even though an appeal and a petition to halt their execution were before the Supreme Constitutional Court, according to information received.
“We are all the more concerned that several other cases pending in the courts of individuals convicted in similar circumstances and facing the death penalty amid reports of a lack of due legal process,” the experts said. “These convictions appear to be in direct disregard of both Egyptian and international law and procedure.
“Capital punishment may only be carried out after a legal process that gives all possible safeguards, including those provided for in international human rights law, to ensure a fair trial and pursuant to a final judgement.”
In January 2018,
the experts called on Egypt to halt all pending executions following repeated allegations of unfair trials. Since President el-Sisi came to power in July 2013, Egyptian courts have upheld 1,451 death sentences, out of a total 2,443 referrals by lower courts.
“To have proceeded with the nine executions on the basis of what appears to be seriously flawed trials was in violation of international human rights law; executions in these conditions amount to arbitrary executions,” the experts said. “It was also a breach of Egypt’s own laws which prohibit the use of evidence obtained under torture.”
A detailed account of the torture used to obtain the confessions, in some cases during periods of enforced disappearance, was brought up during the trial of the nine men, but was allegedly ignored by the East Cairo Felonies Court. Evidence in the case also reportedly showed major inconsistencies. Three of the executed men were made to confess on national television.
“We reiterate our earlier call on the Government to halt all executions and to carry out a comprehensive review of all cases in which individuals have been sentenced to death,” the experts said.
Note: The nine men executed under case 7122/2016 “Case of the assassination of the public prosecutor” are: Ahmed Mohamed Taha Wahdan; Abu el-Qasem Ahmed Ali Youssef; Mahmoud el-Ahmady Abdul Rahman; Abdul Rahman Soliman Mohamed; Ahmed Mahrous el-Sayed; Islam Mohamed Ahmed Mekkawy; Abu Bakr el-Sayed Abdul Mageed Mohamed; Ahmed el-Degwi and Ahmed Gamal Hegazy.
(*) The UN experts:
Ms Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur onextrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions;
Mr. Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on
torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
Ms Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Special Rapporteur on the
promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism; Mr. Seong-Phil Hong, Chair-Rapporteur;
Working Group on Arbitrary Detention;
Mr. Tae-Ung Baik (Vice Chair),
Mr. Bernard Duhaime (Chair), Ms Houria Es-Slami,
Mr. Luciano Hazan and
Mr. Henrikas Mickevičius of theWorking Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.
The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the
Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
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