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Egypt: death penalty

, Index number: MDE 12/009/1996

Mohammad 'Abd al-Ra'uf Mahmoud, aged 34, Ayman Kamal Mohammad, aged 21, 'Abd al-Nasser Abu Kharouf, aged 25: The three men named above were sentenced to death by the (Emergency) Supreme State Security Court in Cairo in a case involving alleged members of al-Gama'a al-Islamiya, a banned Islamist armed group.

EXTERNAL AI Index: MDE 12/09/96
EXTRA 51/96 Death Penalty 3 April 1996
EGYPTMohammad 'Abd al-Ra'uf Mahmoud, aged 34
Ayman Kamal Mohammad, aged 21
'Abd al-Nasser Abu Kharouf, aged 25
On 2 April 1996, the three men named above were sentenced to death by the
(Emergency) Supreme State Security Court in Cairo in a case involving alleged
members of al-Gama'a al-Islamiya, a banned Islamist armed group. The three
death sentences have been submitted to the Mufti, the highest religious
authority in the country, for approval. This is a routine measure, as he approves
the vast majority of them. They are then passed on to the President of the
Republic or his nominee for ratification.
The (Emergency) Supreme State Security Court postponed until 5 May the verdicts
on another 26 defendants, including five who are still on the run, charged
in the same case. The three people sentenced to death were charged with murdering
three policemen and injuring others in Aswan, south of Egypt in 1993. Other
charges against them and other defendants include membership of a banned
organization, possession of weapons and threatening the peace.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The death penalty has been extensively used in Egypt in the last few years.
So far this year Amnesty International has recorded 21 death sentences passed
by military, criminal and (Emergency) State Security Courts. Three people,
sentenced in previous years, have been executed during the same time. Military
courts have passed 70 death sentences since October 1992 when President Hosni
Mubarak began issuing special decrees referring civilians to be tried by such
courts, 48 executions have been carried out.
There is no right to appeal against sentences issued by (Emergency) Supreme
State Security Courts. This falls 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
everyone who is convicted shall have the right to have their conviction and
sentence being reviewed by a higher tribunal. The United Nations's 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 English, French, Arabic or your own language:
- expressing concern that the three 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. If these men
are executed, Amnesty International will consider them summary and arbitrary
executions;
- expressing concern at the extensive 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;
- pointing out that the organization does not in any way condone the crimes
such as those of which the three people above were convicted, and recognizes
the right of states to bring criminals to justice; however, stress that there
is no evidence that the death penalty is an effective deterrent to such crimes;
2
- 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.
APPEALS TO:
His Excellency, Mohammad Hosni Mubarak
President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
'Abedine Palace, Cairo, Egypt
Telegrams: President Mubarak, Cairo, Egypt
Telexes: 93794 WAZRA UN
Salutation: Your Excellency
COPIES TO:
Ms Nayla Gabr
The Human Rights Department
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Corniche al-Nil, Cairo, Egypt
Faxes: (202) 574 7839
Dr Fathi Sorour
Speaker
The People's Assembly
Magles al-Sha’ab Street, Cairo, Egypt
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 1 May 1996.

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