Egypt: Nine people put to death in chilling Ramadan executions

Responding to the news that the Egyptian authorities executed nine people today, including an 82-year-old man, after a grossly unfair trial, in relation to the killing of 13 police officers during an attack on Kerdasa police station in August 2013, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director, Philip Luther said:

“Today’s execution of nine people is a chilling demonstration of the Egyptian authorities’ disregard for the right to life and their obligations under international law.

“By carrying out these executions during the holy month of Ramadan the Egyptian authorities have displayed a ruthless determination to persist with their escalating use of the death penalty.

By carrying out these executions during the holy month of Ramadan the Egyptian authorities have displayed a ruthless determination to persist with their escalating use of the death penalty.
Philip Luther, Amnesty International

“The use of the death penalty is abhorrent in all circumstances, and in Egypt it is extremely concerning that it is used after unfair trials, with courts routinely relying on torture-tainted ‘confessions’.

“These death sentences were issued following a grossly unfair trial in which defendants were denied access to their lawyers and were coerced to ‘confess’. According to international law, proceedings in capital cases must scrupulously observe fair trial standards and carrying out executions after unfair trials violates the right to life. 

“The Egyptian authorities must immediately put a stop to this alarming surge in executions. We call on states worldwide to take a clear stance by publicly condemning Egypt’s use of the death penalty and urging the government to immediately establish an official moratorium on executions, as a first step towards abolishing the death penalty.”

Background:

Last week, Amnesty International’s annual death penalty report revealed that the number of recorded executions in Egypt tripled in 2020 making it the world’s third most frequent executioner after China and Iran.

In December 2014, Giza Criminal Court convicted 184 people, sentencing 183 to death and a child to 10 years in prison in relation to the attack on Kerdasa police station. During a retrial at the Cairo Criminal Court in July 2017 20 people were sentenced to death. In September 2018, Egypt's Court of Cassation upheld their death sentences. Nine Egyptian human rights organizations denounced the verdict, highlighting gross violations of fair trial rights including defendants being denied access to their lawyers during their detention, and during interrogation and being forced to “confess”. Three other men in the same case were executed on 4 October 2020