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UA 273/94 - Egypt: death penalty: Mohammad Rashad 'Abd al-Hamid Higazy, Mohammad 'Abd al-'Alim Khalifa, Mas'ud al-'Arif Ibrahim, Tariq Ahmad 'Abd al-Samad, Usama Mohammad Rashad

, N° d'index: MDE 12/012/1994

On 16 July 1994 the five people named above were sentenced to death by the Supreme Military Court in Cairo, which pronounced judgement in the case known as "the attempted assassination of the Interior Minister, General Hassan Mohammad al-Alfy". The five could be executed within weeks if their sentences are upheld.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: MDE 12/12/94
Distr: UA/SC
UA 273/94 Death Penalty 18 July 1994
EGYPT Mohammad Rashad 'Abd al-Hamid Higazy
Mohammad 'Abd al-'Alim Khalifa
Mas'ud al-'Arif Ibrahim
Tariq Ahmad 'Abd al-Samad
Usama Mohammad Rashad
On 16 July 1994, the five people named above were sentenced to death by the
Supreme Military Court in Cairo, which pronounced judgment in the case known
as the attempted assassination of the Interior Minister, General Hassan Mohammad
al-Alfy. The five men could be executed within weeks if their sentences are
upheld.
Seventeen people were tried in this case. The five people named above were
sentenced to death, 10 people were sentenced to between three and five years'
imprisonment, and two were acquitted. The charges against them include
attempting to assassinate the Interior Minister, General Hassan Mohammad
al-Alfy on 18 August 1993, illegally possessing weapons, the murder in January
1994 of a prosecution witness in a case against Islamist militants who had
tried to kill the Prime Minister, 'Atef Sedqi, and membership of a banned
Islamist group known as Gihad (Holy Struggle).
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
During the last 26 months politically motivated acts of violence by armed
opposition groups have escalated sharply in Egypt. Islamist militant groups
have committed deliberate and arbitrary killings, which Amnesty International
has condemned. Victims have included a writer known for his secularist views,
Copts, tourists, government officials and many police and prison officers.
The five people named above were sentenced to death by a military court, even
though all of them are believed to be civilians. 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 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 guarantee 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 death penalty.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in Arabic, French, English or in your own language:
- expressing concern that the above five people have been sentenced to death
and urging that the President use his constitutional right to grant clemency
and commute these and all other pending death sentences; if these men are
executed, Amnesty International will consider them summary and arbitrary
executions;
- expressing concern at the upsurge in the use of the death penalty in Egypt
(56 death sentences have been passed by military courts since December 1992
and 35 executions have now taken place), 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
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penalty, in accordance with Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a state party.
APPEALS TO
His Excellency
Muhammad Hosni Mubarak
President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
'Abedine Palace
Cairo, Egypt
Telegrams: President Mubarak, Cairo, Egypt
Telexes: 93794 WAZRA UN
Faxes: 202 260 54 17
Salutation: Your Excellency
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
The Human Rights Department
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Corniche al-Nil
Cairo, Egypt
Faxes: 202 723173
Dr Fathi Sorour
Speaker
The People's Assembly
Magles al-Shaab 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 29 August 1994.

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