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

 


Outraged UN experts urge Egypt: overturn mass death verdict

‘Outraged’, UN experts urge Egypt to overturn largest confirmed mass death verdict

30 June 2014

The credibility and integrity of the Egyptian justice system has become “deeply compromised”, a group of United Nations human rights experts today said, urging the Government to impose a moratorium on the death penalty and to offer new and fair trials for 183 people whose death sentences have been confirmed.

“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 UN independent experts said.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called the ruling the largest mass death sentence to be confirmed in Egypt in recent history.

On 21 June, a Criminal Court in Minya upheld death sentences in connection with events in the city last August against Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed al-Badie and 182 other supporters of former elected President Mohamed Morsi. The defendants, whose charges range from threatening public order and setting fire to a police station to murder, were among 683 people provisionally sentenced to death on 28 April.

The UN experts have on at least two occasions, on 31 March and 15 May, decried the imposition of these sentences, which it said were pronounced following trials laden with procedural flaws. Those included a lack of precision in the charges, limited access to lawyers, trials in absentia, and mass sentencing.

“We are shocked by the repeated and deliberate use of mass death sentences,” stressed the experts. “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, Egyptian courts have recommended the death penalty for 1,247 individuals since January and upheld such sentences against 247 individuals, all of whom were Morsi supporters.

The experts voiced alarm at what they said was 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”.

The group of eight experts is comprised of: Christof Heyns, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Gabriela Knaul, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers; Juan Méndez, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and Pablo de Greiff, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence.

Independent experts or special rapporteurs are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

The group also expressed concern today 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 experts also voiced alarm 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.

Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a binding treaty that Egypt ratified in 1982, states that ‘Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.’

“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,” the experts noted, reiterating their call to the Egyptian authorities to reform the legal system and bring it into compliance with international standards.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Russia Supports Indonesia`s Possible Move To Buy Sukhoi 35

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Russian government supports Indonesias wish to buy the multipurpose fighter jet Sukhoi 35 to enhance the countrys air force. More>>

W International Monetary Fund Downgrade Global Growth Forecast

20 January 2015 – Despite a sharp decline in oil prices, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its latest economic outlook today lowered growth expectations for this year and the next for most countries due to slowdown in investment, and urged governments ... More>>

ALSO:

UN Rights Expert Cancels Visit To Palestinian Territory

Israel’s lack of cooperation leads to cancelled visit by UN rights expert to the occupied Palestinian territory More>>

Pentagon To Deploy 400 Troops To Train Syrian Rebels

Rebel fighters take positions behind sand barricades at al-Breij frontline, after what they said was an advance by them in al-Manasher and al-Majbal areas, where forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad were stationed, in Aleppo January 5, 2015. ... More>>

ALSO:


U.S. Eases Sanctions On Export Of Tech To Cuba

Washington — Today, the Department of Treasury and Department of Commerce officially released the anticipated changes to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR) , reforms announced last year by President ... More>>

Increased Gold Demand Following Shock SNB Move

Gold surged in dollars, pounds and especially euros yesterday after the Swiss Natonal Bank (SNB) caused turmoil in markets. Spot gold surged $30.50 or 2.48% to $1,258.50 per ounce and gold in euro terms rose by 4 per cent from EUR 1,044 to over EUR 1,085 ... More>>

What Next After Palestine's ICC Bid?

President Abbas has applied for Palestine’s membership in the International Criminal Court, paving the way for trials of Israeli officials on war crimes. Whether this ... More>>

ALSO:

  • Palestinian Centre For Human Rights - EU recognition of Palestine: What is it good for?
  • UN Mourns Slain French Cartoonists

    At UNESCO headquarters in Paris, the UN flag flies at half-mast in homage to victims of yesterday's attack on Charlie Hebdo. UNESCO/Pilar Chang-Joo More>>

    ALSO:

    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
    World
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news