Press briefing notes on Egypt executions


We have received disturbing reports that at least seven people were executed in Egypt last week. The death sentences in these cases were issued in trials that were credibly reported not to have met fair trial and due process standards.

According to reliable reports from civil society organisations, four men were executed on 8 March, after being found guilty of several terrorism-related charges, in what is known as the Hilwan Microbus case, in which eight police officers were killed in 2016. We understand that the four had alleged they were subjected to enforced disappearance and tortured to extract confessions.

Three other men are reported to have been executed on 10 March. They had been convicted of joining a terrorist group, in connection with attacks carried out in 2014 and 2015, in what is known as the Ajnad Masr (Soldiers of Egypt) case. They had also alleged that they were forcibly disappeared and subjected to torture to coerce them into confessing.

We are deeply concerned by these latest executions in Egypt and reiterate our position of principle that the death penalty should be abolished. We again urge the Egyptian authorities to introduce a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, as a first step towards its abolition. We call on the authorities to take all steps to ensure due process guarantees are adhered to and all necessary safeguards are in place to ensure fair trials.

We also reiterate our deep concerns about Egypt’s counterterrorism legislation, especially the vague and overly broad definitions of “terrorist group,” “terrorist crime” and “terrorist act”. While States are justifiably concerned about security and terrorism threats, counter-terrorism efforts must be fully consistent with international human rights standards.

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