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.
Tags: Death Penalty
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.
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.
The undersigned organizations reiterate that the continued issuance of death sentences does not guarantee that justice is served.The organizations call for a retrial of the defendants in this case in a process that respects fair trial standards. They also express their concern over the possibility of issuing additional death sentences this month, as verdicts are expected this month in at least five cases in which the defendants’ case files have already been referred to the Grand Mufti; at least two of these cases are before military courts.
The signatory organizations warn that the most recent amendments to the criminal procedures code that were ratified on April 27, 2017 will expedite court procedures related to the administration of the death penalty. Before the amendments were made, it was possible for the Court of Cassation to annul a verdict by a criminal court and order a retrial in front of a different court.
The undersigned civil society organizations are deeply concerned about the retrial of 37 men sentenced to death and 492 to life imprisonment by Al-Minya Criminal Court.