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Egypt: New record in the implementation of the death penalty

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The Committee for Justice (CFJ) said Wednesday that Egyptian authorities implemented a record number of executions in the past two months amid international silence about human rights violations against detainees in the country.

CFJ’s project Detention Watch has documented the execution of 87 defendants in October and November 2020, in a blatant disregard for the right to life enshrined in international human rights conventions.

“Egyptian authorities have carried out a record number of executions during the past two months despite the continuous international condemnation of this behaviour, the most recent of which was in October by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,” said Shaimaa Aboelkhir, advocacy officer at CFJ.

“The reality we have observed so far shows that Egypt is heading into a new era of human rights violations, the slogan of which is wasting the right to life. If there is no serious stance by the international community towards all these executions, the situation in Egypt will continue as it is or even develop for the worse.”

According to the organization’s monitoring, 54 executions were carried out during the month of October, 15 of them were in political cases, and there were two women among them.

In November, the number of executions carried out reached 33, including two political detainees and seven women.

CFJ also reported that these executions were carried out in 5 penal facilities in Egypt, as follows:

  • Appeals Prison in Cairo: 37 executions were monitored there, 15 of them were political defendants.
  • Burj Al Arab Prison: 21 defendants were executed, two of them were politicians.
  • Minya Maximum Security Prison: 17 executions were recorded there.
  • Tanta prison: 11 detainees were executed.
  • Wadi Al-Natrun Prison: one detainee was executed.

CFJ asserts that officials in those prisons in which these executions took place are fully responsible for all these violations of the right to life, by virtue of international covenants and treaties that have been signed by Egypt, and that no matter how long the time, everyone must be held accountable.

The organization also pointed out that much of the correspondence between the human rights mechanisms in the United Nations and the Egyptian government demanded a moratorium on the implementation of the death penalty, especially in cases of a political nature, which rely on investigations of the security services, and in which trials lack internationally recognized fair trial standards, and they also demanded replacing it with other reduced penalties.

The CFJ stresses that the time has come for the international community to move to stop these blatant violations of the right to life by Egyptian authorities, and that clear and unambiguous statements are required, followed by specific moves to prevent Egypt from committing more human rights violations, instead of rewarding it for these violations by emphasizing political and economic partnerships without considering the human rights situation. This is what happened recently in the statements of the French President Emmanuel Macron, in which he emphasized his support for the regime of Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, and then the conclusion of huge arms deals with him regardless of the human rights situation in his country. This had a shocking impact on human rights defenders in Egypt as a result of the extreme French shift in its support for the human rights issue in Egypt.

The CFJ also calls on Egyptian authorities to stop carrying out death sentences, and to replace them with other lenient sentences, in implementation of Egypt’s international obligations towards basic human rights, and to stop the ongoing series of deaths in Egypt without need or censorship.

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