World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Mass imposition of death penalty in Egypt outrageous

Geneva (29 April 2014)

Mass imposition of death penalty in Egypt outrageous

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Tuesday strongly condemned the shocking imposition of the death penalty on 683 individuals in Egypt yesterday after mass trials that she said clearly breached international human rights law.

“It is outrageous that for the second time in two months, the Sixth Chamber of the Criminal Court in Al-Minya has imposed the death sentence on huge groups of defendants after perfunctory trials,” she said.

“In defiance of worldwide pleas for Egypt to respect its human rights obligations after 529 people were sentenced to death in March by the same court, hundreds now face a similar fate at the hands of a judicial system where international fair trial guarantees appear to be increasingly trampled upon.”

“It is high time that Egypt takes its human rights commitments seriously,” Pillay added, noting in particular that Egypt has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

According to information received, the 683 defendants were charged with killing a policeman and breaking into the Edwa police station in Al-Minya on 14 August 2013, among other charges. As in the previous cases, the exact charges against each defendant are not clear, given that they were not individually read out in court.

“The presumption of innocence is fundamental to the protection of human rights in a criminal trial,” Pillay said.

“It imposes on the prosecution the burden of proving the charge against each accused and it guarantees that no guilt can be presumed until the charge against him or her has been proved beyond reasonable doubt.”

“Instead of imposing death sentences wholesale, courts must ensure that accused individuals enjoy fair trials, including the benefit of doubt,” Pillay stressed.

Of the 529 people who were sentenced to death by the Sixth Chamber of the Criminal Court in Al-Minya on 24 March for killing a policeman and on various other charges, 37 had their sentences upheld by the court yesterday, while others reportedly received reduced sentences of 25 years, in itself excessive, and were fined EGP 20,000.

“The death penalty can only be applied for the most serious crimes and after the most stringent trial safeguards,” the High Commissioner said. “This has clearly not been the case in these two trials before the Al-Minya criminal court. A mass trial of hundreds of people, rife with procedural irregularities is simply not good enough for imposition of the death penalty. It is also a totally inadequate basis for sentencing 492 individuals to life in prison.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Iraq: Killing Of Dozens Of Sunni Worshippers In Eastern Iraq

22 August 2014 – Condemning in the strongest terms the reported attack on a mosque in eastern Iraq, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on all Iraqi authorities to ensure that the attack is properly investigated and its perpetrators held to account. More>>

ALSO:

.

UNICEFHonours Life, Tireless Work Of Richard Attenborough

Film producer and director Sir Richard Attenborough was introduced as the new Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) on 28 October 1987. UN Photo/Milton Grant More>>

UN: Flight Restrictions Hamper Ability To Battle Ebola

UNICEF and partners visit a crowded market in Conakry, Guinea, to explain to vendors how they can protect themselves and their families from Ebola. Photo: UNICEF Guinea More>>

New Species: Scientists Honour Bruno Manser On His 60th Birthday

(BERN / SWITZERLAND) A team of Swiss scientists honour missing rainforest advocate Bruno Manser with the announcement of the discovery of two new animal species in the tropical rainforests of Borneo. This was announced today by the Natural History ... More>>

Iraq: UN Condemns Murder Of American Journalist

The United Nations Security Council today strongly condemned the “heinous and cowardly” murder of James Foley, an American journalist, by the militant group Islamic State (IS) and demanded the immediate, safe and unconditional release of all other hostages. More>>

ALSO:

UN:Final Member On Panel To Investigate Gaza Violations

Civilians caught in the crossfire in Gaza have suffered debilitating injuries. Photo: UNRWA Archives/Rami al Sayyed More>>

ALSO:

.

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news