Egypt: UN concerned about recent wave of executions amid calls to ensure fair trial standards
Translated and edited by: Committee for Justice
Geneva: 15 March 2022
The spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ravina Shamdasani, expressed her grave concern about the recent executions in Egypt, noting that the death sentences in these cases were issued in trials that were credibly reported not to have met fair trial and due process standards.
In a press briefing published by the Media Center of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the spokesperson said that “according to reliable reports from civil society organisations, four men were executed on 8 March, after being found guilty of several terrorism-related charges, in what is known as the Hilwan Microbus case, in which eight police officers were killed in 2016. We understand that the four had alleged they were subjected to enforced disappearance and tortured to extract confessions.
Shamdasani added that it was also reported that three other men were executed on March 10, who were convicted of joining a terrorist group in connection with attacks carried out in 2014 and 2015, in what is known as the Ajnad Masr (Soldiers of Egypt) case. They had also alleged that they were forcibly disappeared and subjected to torture to coerce them into confessing.
The UN spokesperson reiterated the Office of the High Commissioner’s initial position on the need to abolish the death penalty, urging the Egyptian authorities once again to suspend the use of the death penalty as a first step towards its abolition.
Shamdasani also called on the authorities in Egypt to take all steps to ensure adherence to due process guarantees, and to apply all necessary safeguards to ensure fair trials.
The UN spokesperson reiterated her deep concerns about Egypt’s counterterrorism legislation, especially the vague and overly broad definitions of “terrorist group,” “terrorist crime” and “terrorist act”, stressing that while States are justifiably concerned about security and terrorism threats, counter-terrorism efforts must be fully consistent with international human rights standards.