Egypt: Death Penalty as a Tool of Political Repression (Joint Statement)
On 10 October 2023, on the occasion of the International Day against the Death Penalty, Alkarama and several human rights organisations issued a joint statement denouncing the death sentences handed down following political trials in Egypt.
In their statement, the organisations condemned the persistence of “the death penalty, which is misused by governments and countries that still apply it – especially in cases that appear to be criminal but are political in nature, and where the facts are prosecuted as criminal cases, when in reality they are primarily political cases.”
The organisations also stated that “the aim (of this use of the death penalty) is to suppress peaceful politicians who oppose governments. This is typical of cases in Middle Eastern countries in general, and Egypt in particular, where there are unfair trials, torture and cruel and humiliating treatment, as well as forced confessions – and arbitrary death sentences, in violation of the principles of humanity and justice”.
The signatories of the declaration believe that “the misuse of the death penalty in Egypt constitutes a crime against humanity and call for a moratorium on its application, which is one of the most important measures to be taken at this stage”.
Content of the statement:
International Day Against the Death Penalty
October 10, 2023
The death penalty in Egypt - a tool of political repression
Human rights are fundamental and transcend all circumstances, regardless of gender, skin colour, religion, or even political affiliation. Respect for human rights is a guarantee and an indispensable necessity for a just and democratic state. None of these rights should be compromised, as the right to life is at the top of the list of human rights.
The purpose of the death penalty, which is abused by governments and states that still use it – especially in cases that are criminal in appearance but remain political in essence, where the facts are prosecuted when they were originally only political – is to suppress peaceful politicians who oppose governments. This is typical of cases in the Middle East in general, and in Egypt in particular, where unfair trials, torture, and cruel and humiliating treatment, as well as forced confessions – and arbitrary death sentences – take place, in violation of the principles of humanity and justice.
The undersigned organisations believe that the misuse of the death penalty in Egypt constitutes a crime against humanity. We call for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty as one of the most important measures to be taken at this stage. We call for global solidarity in this regard.
Execution in Egypt has become a tool of political repression against opponents of the Egyptian government.
According to Amnesty International, Egypt has been ranked by the International Coalition Against the Death Penalty as one of the top five countries in the world for the use of the death penalty, after Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, and Syria.
Furthermore, ten years after the military takeover, Egypt’s abnormal “civil-military” judicial system continues to hand down particularly harsh sentences in political cases.
The Egyptian judiciary has thus handed down numerous death sentences following unfair mass trials.
As a result:
- 105 citizens have been executed in recent years for political reasons;
- 98 are awaiting execution following final and binding decisions by a non-independent judiciary.
The Campaign Against the Death Penalty in Egypt calls on the Egyptian government to listen to local and international voices calling for the abolition of the death penalty in general, or at least a moratorium on its use, and to urgently overturn convictions in political cases.
–Defend the right to life.
–AFD International – Belgium
–Alkarama – Geneva
–Justice for Human Rights – Turkey.
–Solidarity for Human Rights – Geneva.
–Communication for Human Rights – The Hague.