Egypt: Geneva Council condemns the upholding of death sentences against opposition figures


GENEVA – The Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties (GCRL) strongly condemns the Egyptian Court of Cassation’s decision to uphold death sentences for 12 people, including many senior Muslim Brotherhood figures. The Council considers that these rulings came after trials that failed to adhere to minimum fair trial guarantees, and are part of a systematic policy to liquidate and end the political opposition.
On Monday, June 14, 2021, the Egyptian Court of Cassation upheld the execution of 12 people, including leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, in the Rabaa sit-in case which dates back to 2013, when thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters staged a huge sit-in at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square in eastern Cairo, following the removal of former President Mohamed Morsi.
The ruling of the Court of Cassation upheld the death penalty for Abd al-Rahman al-Bar, Mohammad Biltaji, Safwat Hegazy, Osama Yassin, Ahmed Aref, Ihab Wajdi Mohammad, Mohammad Abd al-Hayy, Moustafa Abd al-Hayy al-Farmawi, Ahmad Farouk Kamel, Haitham al-Sayed al-Arabi, Mohammad Mahmoud Ali Zenati, Abd al-Azim Ibrahim Mohammad in the case of organizing the Rabaa sit-in, and Issam al-Arian. Who lapsed his call for his death.
In 2018, a Cairo criminal court handed down death sentences against 75 people who participated in the sit-ins in Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya square in July and August 2013 after convicting them of charges related to participating in unauthorized protests and committing violence against security forces.
The Geneva Council has previously documented the acceleration of executions in Egypt against dozens of citizens and political opponents, after politically motivated trials lacking any guarantee of due process.  On Monday, April 26, 2021, the Egyptian Ministry of Interior executed 17 detainees in connection with Case No. 12749 of 2013 Giza Felonies, known as “the storming of Kerdasa Police Station.”
2020 witnessed the execution of at least 107 death sentences by the Egyptian authorities, which represented a more than threefold increase over the sentences executed in 2019, which amounted to 32. These data confirm the Egyptian authorities’ ruthless determination to persist execution of death sentences, some of which are in collective cases of a political nature or related to political violence, and charges are often fabricated against political opponents, leading to unfair trials. The Council notes that the majority of trials in which death sentences are issued lack fair trial standards, and come after detainees have been subjected to severe torture, forced confessions, and degrading treatment.
The Geneva Council calls for the international community to put pressure on Egypt to end the grave violations of human rights and stop covering up abuses committed by the Egyptian state without regard or respect for international human rights standards. It also calls for serious action to abolish all death sentences, under accepted standards to ensure fair trials, and reconsider suspending the death penalty’s implementation through new legislation.

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