Stop Egypt Executions Statement on World Day Against the Death Penalty
On this day, October 10, of each year, the world reiterates its call to eradicate the death penalty in all parts of the whole world. It is the World Day which was launched by the International Foundation Against the Death Penalty, which was founded in Rome in 2002, some 13 years.
For its part, the United Nations issued its decision No. 67/176 on March 20, 2013 calling upon countries of the world that still applied the death penalty to impose a moratorium on executions, with a view to abolishing the death penalty altogether, recognizing that any error in the application of justice resulting in the death penalty would be impossible to remedy.
The Stop Egypt Execution campaign calls on all countries of the world to note that the political situation in Egypt has turned the death penalty into a repressive mechanism used by the Egyptian regime against all opponents.
What is happening in Egypt is more about political revenge and extrajudicial execution than punishment for crimes. This means that the current political situation has changed – in an unprecedented way – the meaning of punishment and the extent of its compliance with the country’s law and Constitution.
In the twentieth century, in its entirety, Egypt issued death sentences against 1429 citizens only. However, since the July 3, 2013 events – a little over two years ago, Egyptian courts issued death penalty sentences against 1763 people, referring their papers to the Grand Mufti to rubber-stamp the mass execution decisions in 32 cases only.
So far, this has resulted in 729 final death sentences. The rest await final confirmation. It is of course a frightening number for the short period of time in which these mass execution decisions were issued, especially since the majority of these ‘death-row convicts’ are of high social, educational and professional status, students or under eighteen years old.
Moreover, in many of these lawsuits, mass-execution decisions were issued. Large numbers of those "defendants" were sentenced to death in minutes. In one of these cases, 183 people were sentenced to death in a single session. This necessarily compromises the defendants’ right to defend themselves.
Egyptian authorities have actually implemented death sentences against seven people since then, despite several international resolutions and recommendations for a moratorium on the death penalty due to massively flawed trials.
Based on the above, the Stop Egypt Execution campaign extends its hand to all activists and political forces, and also to all countries and governments of the world, to work on the following:
* Stop the death penalty provided for in Egyptian law for the time being, until stability of the political situation in Egypt is complete, and until the return of trust and acceptance among people of all sects, social segments and groups with regard to the appropriateness of the punishment for the crime committed.
* Impose a moratorium on executions issued by Egyptian courts, especially in cases where mass-sentences were issued against large numbers of defendants. We should also call for the immediate release of all political prisoners, especially children, women, the elderly and the sick.
* Demand that the judiciary should comply with the letter and spirit of the law and listen to the defense, give defendants full opportunity to defend themselves, and not to neglect evidence against convicting defendants. Also, demand application of international standards of fair trial and legal guarantees for the accused and their lawyers in Egyptian courts.
* Work on developing a real rights and humanitarian culture in the Egyptian society, reject hatred, violence and incitement to them, especially in the state-controlled media, and work together to create a just society respectful of rights and freedoms.
Stop Egypt Execution Campaign
Saturday – October 10, 2015
In two years and three months, the state-controlled Egyptian judiciary referred 1763 cases to the Grand Mufti (a routine process for final approval of death sentences). It issued 729 death sentences, of which 7 were actually carried out in two separate cases. There are 441 death sentences pending appeals by defense teams.
These mass executions or death sentences included 1763 people, of whom 1758 were male and 5 female ‘convicts’.
Seven Egyptians were actually executed, their death sentences carried out. Courts are yet to decide on appeals filed by 441 other people sentenced to death. Appeals were accepted in 246 cases. Those had re-trials arranged. Meanwhile, 35 appeals by defendants had been accepted and their re-trials ended with the same result: the death penalty, with their papers once again referred to the Grand Mufti for final approval.
Geographical distribution of death penalty decisions:
Minya (Upper Egypt) 1219 death sentences
North Sinai 35
Port Said 21
Human rights organizations and individuals who signed the statement, until Friday – October 9, 2015:
1. Saif Abdel-Fattah – Professor of Political Science at Cairo University, and former Adviser to the Egyptian Presidency.
2. Moncef Marzouki – former President of Tunisia
3. Ramsey Clark – former US Secretary of Justice
4. Ibrahim Yusri – Egyptian diplomat, and former Assistant Secretary of State
5. Mohamed Abdel-Quddus – Chairman of the Journalists’ Syndicate Liberties Committee, and member of the Egyptian National Council for Human Rights
6. Sarah Vlounder – Member of the International Labour Organization
7. Hoda Abdel-Moneim – a former member of the National Council for Human Rights, and Chairperson of the Revolutionary Coalition for Egyptian Women
8. Mohamed Gamal Heshmat – Speaker of the Egyptian Parliament abroad
9. Abdel-Rahman Yousef – poet and political activist
10. Haitham Abu Khalil – Director of Center for Victim and Human Rights
11. Khalaf Bayoumi – Director of Shehab Center for Human Rights
12. Abdullah Al-Naggar – Director of Afro-Arab Center for Freedoms and Human Rights
13. Ahan Ouzmakik – President of the American Turkish Organization for Youth and Education in the United States
14. Mohamed Sari – President of the Turkish Association for Human Rights Workers
15. Abdul-Rahman Dilibak – Turkish media professional and renowned writer
16. ‘Humane’ Foundation
17. Human Rights Monitor
18. Egyptian American Society for Freedom and Justice
19. Egyptian American Association for Democracy and Human Rights
20. Azhari Observatory of Rights and Freedoms
21. Freedom Seekers Monitor
22. Egyptian Coordinating Committee of Rights and Freedom
23. Gandhi Regional Centre for Peace
24. Nidal – Arab Foundation on Civil and Political Rights
25. Defend the Oppressed Foundation – ‘Damir’ Egypt Conscience
26. The International Association of Rights and Freedoms
27. Arab Observatory for Freedom of Information and Expression
28. Captive Journalist Movement
29. Independence of the Judiciary Front
30. Egyptian Canadians for Democracy Alliance
31. Justice and Peace in Georgia Alliance
32. International Coordinating Committee for the Support of Rights and Freedoms
33. "Saving Egypt" Foundation
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