Egypt Watch

International Concerns about the Execution of Seven Egyptians

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed its deep concerns related to the recent executions in Egypt.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called on the Egyptian authorities to the necessity of abolishing the death penalty. It urged the Egyptian authorities to introduce a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, as the first step towards its abolition and to take all steps to ensure due process guarantees are adhered to and all necessary safeguards are in place to ensure fair trials.

From her side, the Spokesperson of The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ravina Shamsadani, said that: “We also reiterate our deep concerns about Egypt’s counterterrorism legislation, especially the vague and overly broad definitions of “terrorist group,” “terrorist crime” and “terrorist act”. She added that: “While States are justifiably concerned about security and terrorism threats, counter-terrorism efforts must be fully consistent with international human rights standards.”

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that it received disturbing reports that at least seven people were executed in Egypt last week. The Commissioner confirmed 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, according to reliable reports.

The press briefing note mentioned that four men were executed on 8 March, after being found guilty of several terrorism-related charges, in what is known as the Helwan 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, according to reliable reports from civil society organizations.

Three other men are reported to have been executed on 10 March. They had been 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.