EXTERNAL AI Index: MDE 12/04/96
EXTRA 04/96 Death Penalty 15 January 1996
EGYPTAhmad ‘Abd al-’Adhim Ahmad Fawwaz
Haggag Gum’a Mohammad Salim
Hosni al-Sayyid Hussein al-Buhairi
Zakariya Mohammad ‘Ali Bashir
Salah Sa’d Mohammad ‘Awadh
Mostafa ‘Abd al-Hamid Mostafa
On 13 January 1996 the six men named above were sentenced to death by the Supreme Military
Court in Heikstep, east of Cairo. Amnesty International fears that they may be executed within
weeks if their sentences are upheld. Eleven other defendants were sentenced to between three and
15 years imprisonment with hard labour; one defendant was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
Six others were acquitted.
The case involved 24 defendants and is known as
al-’Aidoun min al-Sudan
Sudan). The defendants, all alleged members of
, (Islamic Group), a banned
Islamist organization, were reportedly arrested in Aswan in June and November 1995, and allegedly
found to be in possession of large quantities of arms and ammunition smuggled over the border
from Sudan. Charges against them included plotting to overthrow the present regime, threatening
peace and national unity through the use of violence and illegally importing weapons and
ammunition into the country with a view to engaging in violent and criminal activities.
Since October 1992, when President Hosni Mubarak began issuing special decrees referring
civilians to be tried by military courts, 70 death sentences have been passed by military courts and
48 executions have been carried out.
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, which guarantees that all
those convicted shall have the right to have their conviction sentence reviewed by a higher tribunal.
The United Nations’ Economic and Social Council has urged that these rights be respected in all
cases involving the Death Penalty.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail letters in
Arabic, English, French or your own language:
- expressing concern that the six people mentioned above have been sentenced to death and urging
that the President use his constitutional powers to grant clemency and commute these and other
pending death sentences;
- expressing concern at the continuing upsurge in the use of the death penalty in Egypt, and
explaining Amnesty International’s opposition to the death penalty as a violation of the right to life
and the most extreme form of cruel and inhuman punishment;
- drawing attention to world trends to abolish or reduce the use of the death penalty, in accordance
with Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a state