EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: MDE 12/18/93
UA 368/93 Death Penalty/Legal concern 15 October 1993
EGYPT Yahya Mustafa Imam SHAHROUR
Ahmed Mohammad HAMMOUDA
Hesham Taha Ahmed SALIM
The three men named above were sentenced to death by the Supreme Military Court
in Alexandria which pronounced judgment in two separate political cases on
14 October. They could be executed within weeks if their sentences are upheld.
Yahya Mustafa Imam Shahrour was sentenced to death in the case known as Talai'
al-Fatah (Vanguards of the Conquest) - Group 3, in which 33 people were tried.
Others received sentences of between 15 and three years' hard labour. Fifteen
were acquitted. Charges against those convicted included reviving the banned
Islamic group known as Gihad (Holy Struggle) and attempting to overthrow the
Ahmed Mohammad Hammouda and Hesham Taha Ahmed Salim were among 19 defendants
accused in Military Case no. 20. Other defendants in this case received sentences
ranging between life imprisonment with hard labour and one year's imprisonment.
Four were acquitted. Charges included planning the assassination of government
During the last 16 months politically motivated acts of violence by armed
opposition groups have escalated sharply in Egypt. Islamic militant groups
have committed deliberate and arbitrary killings, which Amnesty International
has condemned. Victims have included a writer known for his secularist views,
tourists, Copts, government officials and police and prison officers.
The three people mentioned above were sentenced to death by a military court,
even though all of them are civilians. (For further information on this issue
see recent Amnesty International document Military trials of civilians: a
catalogue of human rights violations, MDE 12/16/93, October 1993). The death
sentences are subject to ratification by the President of the Republic, and
then review by the Military Appeals' Bureau, also headed by the President of
the Republic. Such procedures fall far short of international standards for
fair trial, as guaranteed by Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a state party. This guarantees that
everyone who is convicted shall have the right to their conviction and sentence
being reviewed by a higher tribunal. The United Nations' Economic and Social
Council has urged that these rights be respected in all cases involving the
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