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UA 24/93 - Egypt: death penalty / unfair trial / torture: Al-Sharif Hassan Ahmed and seven others sentenced to death; and Ahmed Ibrahim 'Abd al-Galil, Qassim Ibrahim Qassim Qettish, 'Ala' al-Din Isma'il 'Abbas Ramadhan, Mohammad Sa'id Mohammad 'Abdu, all

, رقم الوثيقة: MDE 12/001/1993

Al-Sharif Hassan Ahmed and the seven others referred to above, all alleged members of banned Islamic opposition groups, were sentenced to death on 3 December 1992 by a military court following an unfair trial. Only one of those sentenced was present. The seven sentenced in absentia are: Mohammad Shawqi al-Islambuli, Mostafa Ahmed Hamza, Rufa'i Ahmed Taha, 'Othman Khalid Ibrahim, Ahmed Mostafa Nouara, Tal'at Mohammad Yassin and Tala't Fou'ad Qassim. The Constitutional Court ruled on 30 January that their sentences could be implemented. Thirty-one others were given sentences ranging from life imprisonment to one year. At least five defendants, including those named above, have alleged torture following arrest, apparently confirmed by forensic tests.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: MDE 12/01/93
Distr: UA/SC
UA 24/93 Death Penalty/Unfair Trial/Torture 1 February 1993
EGYPT: Al-Sharif Hassan Ahmed and seven others sentenced to
death
Ahmed Ibrahim 'Abd al-Galil } reportedly subjected to
Qassim Ibrahim Qassim Qettish } torture and sentenced to
'Ala' al-Din Isma'il 'Abbas Ramadhan } terms of imprisonment
Mohammad Sa'id Mohammad 'Abdu, }
On 30 January 1993 the Egyptian Constitutional Court ruled that "the President
of the Republic has the right to refer cases to the military justice under
the state of emergency" and that the sentences passed by the military court
in Alexandria on 3 December 1992, which included eight death sentences, would
be implemented. One prisoner, al-Sharif Hassan Ahmed, appears to be in danger
of execution as a result of the court ruling.
The eight people, all allegedly members of banned Islamic opposition groups,
were sentenced to death by a military court in Alexandria on 3 December 1992
following an unfair trial. Only one of those sentenced to death, al-Sharif
Hassan Ahmed, was present. The seven others were sentenced in absentia and
included Mohammad Shawqi al-Islambuli, Mostafa Ahmed Hamza, Rufa'i Ahmed Taha,
'Othman Khalid Ibrahim, Ahmed Mostafa Nouara, Tal'at Mohammad Yassin and Tala't
Fou'ad Qassim.
Thirty one others were given sentences ranging from life imprisonment to
one-year prison terms, and nine were acquitted at the same trial. Charges
included membership of an underground "terrorist" organization which calls
for the overthrow of the government, planning to assassinate state officials,
possession of weapons and theft. Amendments to the penal code, introduced in
1992 and providing the death penalty for "terrorist" offences, were apparently
applied for the first time.
At least five defendants, Ahmed Ibrahim 'Abd al-Galil, Qassim Ibrahim Qassim
Qettish, 'Ala' al-Din Isma'il 'Abbas Ramadhan, al-Sharif Hassan Ahmed and
Mohammad Sa'id Mohammad 'Abdu, were reportedly tortured following their arrest,
and official forensic medical doctors who examined them found physical scars
consistent with the torture they alleged. Methods of torture included electric
shocks on different parts of the body and beatings.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Most of the defendants in this case were arrested in August 1992 in Alexandria.
Fourteen people, out of a total of 48, were still on the run when the verdicts
were announced. The case was referred to a military court in Alexandria in
October 1992 by a presidential decree. Some of the defendants had reportedly
just come back from long periods of residence in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan
and Yemen. They were all charged with membership of an underground terrorist
organization, Gihad (Holy War), aiming to overthrow the government, plotting
to assassinate officials, possessing weapons and theft. The court's verdict
must be ratified by President Hosni Mubarak, or his nominee, before it becomes
final. There is no right to appeal.
The trial fell short of internationally recognized standards for fair trial.
Defendants were tried by a military court (this was the first political case
in many years to be referred to such a court, by presidential decree). They
have no right to appeal against their sentences. The defendants were referred
to the Niyaba (state procuracy) without the
page 2 of UA 24/93
lawyers being informed, and were therefore not present during the initial
questioning. Lawyers complained that they had insufficient time to prepare
their case and that their request for a delay was refused. Some lawyers were
reportedly harassed by the security police and were searched each time they
saw their clients. Foreign and Egyptian journalists, with the exception of
those representing the semi-official press, were denied access to the courtroom.
On 8 December 1992 the Higher Administrative Court ruled that the presidential
decree which referred this case to a military court was invalid because the
case had no connection with Egypt's armed forces. It also ruled that the accused
should be tried by a state security court. Three days later, on 11 December
1992, the Government challenged this decision through the Higher Constitutional
Court, which ruled on 30 January 1993 that the President did have the right
to refer cases to military courts.
In recent months Egypt has seen an alarming escalation of violence between
members of banned Islamic militant groups and the security forces and between
the former and Christians. Dozens of people have been killed and mass arrests
have taken place. Banned Islamic militant groups have claimed responsibility
for several killings.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/express and airmail
letters:
- expressing grave concern at the death sentences passed on al-Sharif Hassan
Ahmed and seven others by a military court in Alexandria on 3 December 1992
after unfair trial, and urging that these sentences be commuted immediately;
- expressing concern at the unfairness of the trial which fell short of
internationally recognized standards for fair trials;
- urging that the 31 other defendants be allowed the right to appeal against
their conviction and the sentences passed;
- expressing concern at the reported torture of Ahmed Ibrahim 'Abd al-Galil,
Qassim Ibrahim Qassim Qettish, 'Ala' al-Din Isma'il 'Abbas Ramadhan, al-Sharif
Hassan Ahmed and Mohammad Sa'id Mohammad 'Abdu, and calling for prompt and
impartial investigations to be carried out.
APPEALS TO:
His Excellency
Muhammad Hosni Mubarak
President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
'Uruba Palace, 'Uruba Street
Heliopolis
Cairo, Egypt
Telegrams: President Mubarak, Cairo, Egypt
Telexes: 93794 WAZRA UN
Salutation: Your Excellency
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
His Excellency
General Mohammad Hussein Tantawi
Sulayman
Minister of Defence
Ministry of Defence
23 July Street
Kobry - Al-Qobba
Cairo, Egypt
Telegrams: Minister of Defence,
Cairo, Egypt
Telexes: 92220 Kharg UN
His Excellency
Mr Faruq Sayf al-Nasr
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
Maydan Lazoghly
Cairo, Egypt
Telegrams: Minister of Justice,
Cairo, Egypt
Telexes: 92220 Kharg UN
and to diplomatic representatives of Egypt accredited to your country
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 16 March 1993.

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