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
- 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.
Muhammad Hosni Mubarak
President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
'Uruba Palace, 'Uruba Street
Telegrams: President Mubarak, Cairo, Egypt
Telexes: 93794 WAZRA UN