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

 


Egypt: UN Experts “outraged” at 183 death sentances

Egypt: UN Experts “outraged” at confirmation of 183 death sentences

30 June 2014

GENEVA – A group of UN human rights experts* expressed outrage after a Criminal Court in Minya, Egypt, confirmed death sentences against 183 people, in what constitutes the largest mass death sentence to be confirmed in Egypt in recent history. The experts urged the Government to quash the sentences and offer new and fair trials to all defendants.

On 21 June 2014, the Court upheld 183 of the 683 provisional death sentences imposed on 28 April 2014 in connection with events in Minya last August. The provisional sentences were pronounced following trials laden with procedural flaw. There was a lack of precision in the charges, limited access to lawyers, trials in absentia, and mass sentencing. The charges ranged from threatening public order and setting fire to a police station to murder. The 183 defendants, including Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed al-Badie, are all supporters of former elected President Mohamed Morsi.

“The imposition of mass death sentences following blatantly unfair trials and for crimes that may not be punishable by death constitutes a staggering violation of international human rights law,” the experts said.

The statement by the United Nations independent experts comes after a joint statement on 15 May 2014 urging the Government to quash the 683 deaths sentences, and a joint statement on 31 March 2014 after an earlier round of mass death sentences were imposed upon 529 individuals in trials marred by procedural irregularities.

“We are shocked by the repeated and deliberate use of mass death sentences” stressed the experts, noting that the credibility and integrity of the Egyptian justice system has become deeply compromised. “We are deeply concerned that the courts have become instrumental in the arbitrary and politically motivated prosecutions by the State, which may also be discriminatory against people on the basis of religion or belief”.

According to available information, since January this year the Egyptian courts have recommended the death penalty for 1,247 individuals and upheld such sentences against 247 individuals, all of whom were Morsi supporters.

The experts expressed alarm at the use of the death penalty to clamp down on political dissent and recalled that “death penalty is an extreme form of punishment and, if used at all, should only be imposed for the most severe crimes and following trials that scrupulously respect the guarantees of due process and fair trial as stipulated in international human rights law”.

Concern was also expressed at the recent resumption of executions in the country. Since 16 June six men and a woman convicted of murder and forced robbery were hanged, in the first recorded executions in Egypt since 2011. The UN experts urged the Government of Egypt urgently to impose a moratorium on all death sentences.

The UN experts are also alarmed by the latest conviction of three Al-Jazeera journalists to 7 and 10 years of prison, in what appears to be a continued crackdown on the media.

The UN experts reiterated their call to the Egyptian authorities to reform the legal system and bring it into compliance with international standards. “Respect for justice and the rule of law is an international obligation and an essential component of any strategy for institutional consolidation and lasting reconciliation,” they noted.

(*) The experts: Mr. Christof Heyns, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Ms. Gabriela Knaul, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers; Mr. Juan Méndez, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Mr. Mads Andenas, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Mr. Maina Kiai, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; Mr. Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Mr. Pablo de Greiff, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence; Mr. Heiner Bielefeldt, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief; and Mr. Ben Emmerson, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN Health Agency Responds To Ebola Spike

UN health agency responds to Ebola spike by deploying team on border of Guinea and Guinea-Bissau More>>

UN Casts Israel As World's Worst Violator Of Health Rights

Israel's army team of medics recently treated 1,600 victims of the Nepal earthquake. More>>

W Thousands Flee Syria’s Besieged Historic City Of Palmyra

As thousands flee Syria’s besieged historic city of Palmyra, UN refugee agency readies response plan More>>

UN Agency To Halt Housing Allowance For Palestine Refugees

Lack of funds forces UNRWA to suspend cash assistance for housing for Palestinian refugees from Syria in Lebanon. Photo: UNRWA/Shafiq Fahed More>>


Bangkok: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphophia

BMA, UN, embassy representatives, civil society and artists stand united with LGBTI Thais on International Day against Transphobia, Homophobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT) at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre More>>

Displaced Iraqis Face Difficulties As Fighting Continues

UNHCR is concerned about the processing arrangements in place at the Bzabz bridge – a series of pontoons across the Euphrates River which marks the boundary between Anbar province and the capital, Baghdad. Photo: UNHCR/G. Ohara More>>

UNESCO Chief Condemns Killing Of Bangladeshi Blogger

Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz The head of the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom worldwide today voiced ... More>>

Philadelphia: Train Crash

Five people have been confirmed dead and more than 136 people injured after an Amtrak train crashed in Philadelphia today at 9.20pm local time.More>>

UN News: Alarming Surge In Bay Of Bengal Crossings

The number of irregular migrants crossing the Bay of Bengal has almost doubled over the past year amid a dangerous uptick in human smuggling and trafficking across the region, according to a new report from the United Nations refugee agency. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news