For the fourteenth time in the space of a year, the Court of Cassation has upheld death sentences handed down by lower courts, making them final and enforceable. On Sunday, November 25, 2018, the court issued its judgment on case no.
Programs: Criminal Justice
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) opposes the death penalty in principle and in all cases without exception. EIPR condemns the Egyptian government’s adherence to the death penalty and urges it to sign and ratify the second optional protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which seeks a moratorium on the death penalty.
Death row refers to the prison area where inmates sentenced to death are detained. Prisoners are considered to be on death row from the moment they have been sentenced to death for a capital crime in the first instance, until their execution, commutation or release if they have been acquitted, including during the appeal period.
Whether in “Aqrab” or Tora Farm, Qanater or Minya prison, there is a need to investigate and address the deepening marketization of prison life: how prisoners’ most basic needs—those that the prison authorities are required to provide by law—are instead sold at exorbitant prices for the sake of the canteen’s profit. The move towards the prison-for-profit mode, by providing prisoners’ basic needs for sale in Egyptian prisons, is the thematic umbrella of this research.
Over the past few years, prison authorities in Egypt has been increasingly selling prisoners’ most basic needs—those that the prison authorities are required to provide by law—at exorbitant prices for the sake of the prisons’ canteen’s profit.
April 2018 ended as one of the worst months for the issuance of death sentences. Most of these were issued in ordinary criminal cases, not political, and in one case, 45 defendants were sentenced to death, leading observers to wonder if criminal judges in Egypt have any sentencing tools at their disposal but the death penalty.
The EIPR again urges the court to sentence the defendants to the maximum penalty allowed for the crimes for which they are charged, the prosecution having declined to charge the defendants with torture under Article 126 of the Penal Code and instead opting for assault leading to death.
EIPR recommends that all places of detention regulated by the Egyptian Prison authorities guarantee sentenced prisoners’ bimonthly and pretrial detainees weekly right to 60 minute visits—without a glass barrier or any other additional constraints.
The EIPR urges the president to use the authority imparted to him by the law to substitute the death sentence with a less severe punishment until the petition to reopen the case is considered. The president has previously commuted a death sentence against Mohammed Hussein on 22 January 2017.
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights criticized the parliament for approving a government-submitted bill by a two-thirds majority vote in its general session on Tuesday, March 6. The bill amends provisions of the Penal Code (Law 58/1937) to stiffen penalties on persons convicted of the possession, importation, or manufacture of explosives. According to media sources, the bill introduces the death penalty for one of the crimes set forth.