By: Committee for Justice
Geneva: March 19, 2023
The Committee for Justice denounced the death sentence issued by the First Terrorism Circuit of the Supreme State Security Criminal Court in Egypt, held at the Badr Courts Complex, headed by Counselor Mohamed Al-Saeed El-Sherbiny, during the retrial of two defendants in the case known in the media as the ‘Helwan Brigades’ case.
Two death sentences and rigorous imprisonment:
The court has issued a death sentence against Mahmoud Abu Hasiba Muhammad Farraj, after the Mufti’s approval of an initial sentence. It also obliged him to pay fines of 15,392 pounds, the value of what he allegedly destroyed with others at the Eid Helwan crossing point, and an amount of 28,742 pounds, the value of what he destroyed with others at Arab al-Walda police station in Helwan, and the sum of 86,850 pounds, the value of the emergency vehicles he and others allegedly destroyed in Helwan.
The court also issued a 15-year rigorous prison sentence against Mahmoud Attia Mohamed Attia, and placed him under police surveillance for a period of 5 years after serving the sentence. It also obligated him to pay a fine of 161,698 pounds, the value of what he was found guilty of destroying with others on the public transport bus owned by the Transport Authority.
Violations against the accused in the case:
CFJ stated that the trial lacked the most basic internationally recognized standards of fair trial since its inception. Many of the defendants did not have lawyers attending their hearings, and a number of the defendants were tortured to extract confessions from them. The defendants were brought before an exceptional court: the Supreme State Security Court. They were also sentenced
based on the Anti-Terrorism law, an exceptional law criticized by UN mechanisms that called for its abolition.
Moreover, the national security investigations on which the case is based are unsubstantiated and lacked accuracy. Many of the defendants in the case were arrested from their homes and workplaces, and from peaceful protests they had organized before the time of their alleged crimes.
Case facts and accusations:
The State Security Prosecution charged the defendants with the murder of: Mustafa Nassar, Assistant Investigator of the May 15th Police Department, Sergeant Ramadan Fayez from the Helwan Police Department Investigation Unit, Recruit Mustafa Khalil Gad in the Helwan Traffic Unit, and the wounding of seven other police officers and personnel.
The prosecution also charged them with unlawful gathering, sabotaging, using force, violence and threats against public officials to force them to refrain from performing their duties; establishing a group contrary to the provisions of the law; supplying the group with weapons, ammunition and explosives; and joining a terrorist group.
In June 2022, the same court had sentenced 10 defendants in the case to death, 56 others to life imprisonment, 53 to 15 years’ rigorous imprisonment, 34 to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment, and one to 10 years’ imprisonment. The court acquitted 43 defendants.