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

 


21 Egyptians Beheaded

Egyptian jets bombed Islamic State targets in Libya on Monday, a day after the group there released a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians, drawing Cairo directly into the conflict across its border. More>>

Protests In Bil’in Honoring Slain US Citizens

Protesters at demonstration in Bil’in honoring slain US citizens face attacks and arrests by Israeli forces. More>>

Resolution Targeting Sources Of Financing For ISIL

Ambassadors representing two countries under attack from ISIL, Bashar Ja’afari (right) of Syria, and Mohamed Ali Alhakim of Iraq, speak to journalists following the adoption of a Security Council resolution targeting sources of financing for ... More>>

ALSO:

  • U.S. Department of State - Support for Authorization for Use of Military Force
  • "Pakistan Probably Harboured Osama Bin Laden"

    Former ISI head Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani tells Al Jazeera Pakistan probably harboured Osama Bin Laden More>>

    "Pakistan Probably Harboured Osama Bin Laden"

    Former ISI head Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani tells Al Jazeera Pakistan probably harboured Osama Bin Laden More>>

    ISM Honours Kayla Mueller

    Abdullah Abu Rahma, coordinator of the popular committee in the village of Bil’in where Kayla joined the protests, told ISM: “Kayla came to Palestine to stand in solidarity with us. She marched with us and faced the military that occupies our ... More>>


    US Measles Outbreak: UN Urges Parents Vaccinate Children

    3 February 2015 – Parents in the United States must vaccinate their children against measles in order to maintain the high levels of immunity necessary in keeping outbreaks of the aggressively contagious virus small and contained, the United Nations World ... More>>

    Ebola: Large-Scale Vaccine Trials Under Way In Liberia

    WHO welcomed the donation by the Public Health Agency of Canada of 800 vials of one of the leading candidate Ebola vaccines, rVSV-ZEBOV. Photo: WHO/M. Missioneiro (file) More>>

    Security Council Denounce Murder Of Jordanian Pilot

    3 February 2015 – For the second time in as many days, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the United Nations Security Council have jointly condemned the brutal killing of a civilian by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) – this time deploring ... More>>

    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
    World
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news