CFJ: Executions of Kerdasa is a continuation of the series of deaths without evidence in Egypt
The Committee for Justice (CFJ) said on Tuesday that Egyptian authorities continue to carry out mass executions, in clear disregard for an inalienable human right, which is the right to life. The executions are carried out based on courts which have been condemned by the international community for lacking the minimum standards of fair trials stipulated in international conventions.
On Monday, authorities in Egypt carried out the death penalty against defendants in case No. 12749 of 2013, Kerdasa/Center/Criminal, registered under No. 4804 of 2013, North Giza, and known in the media as the “The case of storming the Kerdasa police station,”
The facts of the case date back to August 14, 2013, in conjunction with the events of the dispersal of the Rabaa al-Adawiya square and al-Nahda sit-ins. The executions are a continuation of the series of the loss of Egyptian lives without evidence.
CFJ stated that it was able to monitor the execution of nine defendants pending the case. They are Abd al-Rahim Abd al-Halim Abdullah Gabreel, (81 years old), Ali al-Sayyid Ali al-Qenawi, Mustafa al-Sayyid Muhammad Yusuf al-Qarfash, Essam Abd al-Muati Abu Amira Taksh, Badr Abd al-Nabi Mahmoud Jumu ‘Zagzoog , Walid Saad Abu Omaira Abu Jarrah, Abdullah Saeed Abdul-Qawi, Ahmad Abd al-Salam al-Ayyat, Ahmad Owais Hussein Hammouda.
The Egyptian Public Prosecution charged 188 defendants pending the case with killing of thirteen members of the police forces, including the head of the police station, his deputy, and two other residents who happened to be there, the attempted killing of 30 other members of the police station forces, destroying the police station building, burning a number of police cars and armoured vehicles, gathering together and possessing weapons and ammunition, while others were accused of participating in an auxiliary way with the rest of the accused in committing these crimes.
According to the lawyers of the defendants, the case was marred by many violations, including the invalidity of the arrest and search procedures for a number of the defendants; the ruling was based on investigations by the security services based on an unknown source and nothing else despite the seriousness of the accusations and the lack of detailed evidence.
Likewise, the interrogation of the defendants took place in a military zone, and many of them were forced to submit confessions extracted under torture, without the presence of their lawyers, and the lawyers were unable to communicate with them during the investigations and the trial, which did not enable them to present an adequate defence.
CFJ also reported that it was able to obtain documented testimonies denying the accusations from one of the persons sentenced to death, the defendant, Abd al-Rahim Abd al-Halim Gabreel (81 years). Still, the court did not take it and sentenced him to death.
CFJ’s Executive Director, Ahmed Mefreh, said:
“The authorities have preempted the executions by the screening of a TV series that misrepresented the events of Rabaa massacre and demonised the participants in the protests so that authorities would legitimise the news of the executions to public opinion. What happened is yet another evidence that the Egyptian regime is pressing ahead with carrying out the death penalty against political prisoners.”
The Giza Criminal Court, the Fifth Circuit, headed by Judge Mohammad Nagi Shehata, issued death sentences in May 2015 for all defendants in the Kerdasa case in the first stages of the trial. On February 3, 2016, the Court of Cassation overturned the ruling and ruled for a retrial before another circuit, after it recognised the nullity of some trial procedures and the court’s violation of the rights of the defence. In the new trial, the 11th Circuit headed by Judge Mohamed Sherine Fahmy ruled, on July 2, 2017, to execute 20 defendants. This ruling was upheld by the Court of Cassation on September 24, 2018.
CFJ points out that much of the correspondence between the human rights mechanisms of the United Nations and the Egyptian government called for a moratorium on the implementation of the death penalty, especially in cases of a political nature, which depend on the investigations of the security services and lack fair trial standards recognised internationally, and replacing it with other reduced penalties.
The organisation also notes the statement of the spokesperson for the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Liz Throssell, in January 2018, in which she expressed her concern about the mass executions in Egypt and that they represent a profound shock, stressing that many cases in Egypt have executed their defendants based on insufficient legal procedures, rejecting Egypt’s use of executions as a means to combat terrorism.
Likewise, in February 2018, the European Parliament issued a clear condemnation of the mass executions carried out by Egyptian authorities, indicating that the human rights situation in Egypt has deteriorated and that authorities are using the war on terror as an excuse to justify repression.
CFJ has called on the UN mechanisms and the international community to monitor the situation in Egypt and put pressure on the authorities there to stop the violations that have claimed hundreds of lives so far based on farcical courts, to demand the Egyptian authorities to stop carrying out death sentences and to replace them with other reduced sentences, in implementation of Egypt’s international obligations towards basic human rights. CFJ also called for a halt to the ongoing series of killings in Egypt that are implemented without any legal basis or evidence.