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Egypt: CFJ condemns mass death sentences in Hilwan case

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The Egyptian Court of Cassation, in its session on January 24, 2024, headed by Judge Adel Al-Saeed Al-Kinani, sentenced seven people to death on terrorism charges. The case is known in the media as the “Helwan Brigades” case.

The continued issuance of mass death sentences in what has become known as “terrorism cases” in Egypt amid violations of the minimum standards of fair trial is a violation of the most basic human right, which is the right to life, the Committee for Justice (CFJ) said. Trials conducted under Egyptian terrorism laws do not guarantee a fair trial for defendants by international norms, due to the incompatibility of these laws with international covenants signed by Egypt, with continuous UN demands to review those laws.

 

The seven defendants are:

Magdy Mohamed Ibrahim Ibrahim.

Mahmoud Attia Ahmed Abdel Ghani.

Abdel Wahab Mustafa Mohamed Mustafa.

Musab Abdul Hamid Khalifa Abdul Baqi.

Abdullah Nader Al-Sharqawi Al-Gameey.

Abdul Rahman Issa Abdul Khaliq.

Mahmoud Alsayed Amin Hassan.

 

The First (Terrorism) Circuit  of the Cairo Criminal Court, in its session on June 22, 2022, headed by Judge Mohamed Sherine Fahmy, issued its verdict punishing ten defendants – including three in absentia – to death.

CFJ believes that these sentences may be a prelude to a massacre in the form of new executions in the context of the economic crisis in the country, in an attempt by the authorities to deter anyone who thinks of objecting or going out to demonstrate because of the crisis.

The Committee said that these death sentences impose on UN mechanisms and the international community to pressure the authorities in Egypt to stop the implementation of these sentences, and consider reviewing notorious terrorism laws, which successive human rights and international organizations have criticized.

Among these criticisms, UN experts said in a statement in November 2021 about the measures practiced by the Egyptian authorities using their terrorism laws, that “the systematic justification of these egregious measures under the guise of implementing United Nations Security Council resolutions represents a serious threat to the legitimacy of the international framework to combat terrorism and the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and in the long term.”

The experts also expressed concern about Egypt’s counter-terrorism law and terrorism courts, including the systematic use of overly broad and vague definitions of terrorism targeting human rights defenders, journalists, and those exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

CFJ condemns these mass death sentences issued by the Egyptian Court of Cassation on seven defendants in the Helwan Brigades case and calls on the authorities in Egypt to review them and issue a presidential decision to suspend them or pardon those sentenced to such sentences, as required by Egyptian law, which grants the president the right to pardon.

The Committee also reiterates its calls to the UN mechanisms and the international community to pressure the Egyptian authorities to stop the death penalty and to review terrorism laws to bring them into line with international and UN conventions and covenants to which Egypt is a signatory.

For more information and media requests or inquiries, please get in touch with us (+41229403538 / media@cfjustice.org)

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