UN Expresses ‘Deep Shock’ at Scale of Executions in Egypt
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) expressed its “deep shock” after 20 people were reported to have been executed in Egypt since last week.
The OHCHR also raised concerns that due process and fair trial guarantees did not appear to have been followed.
The UN statement cited the case of five men who had been sentenced on January 2 to death by an Egyptian military court and who were hanged in Alexandria. Four of them had been convicted for an explosion near a stadium in Kafr al-Sheikh on 15 April 2015 that killed three military recruits and injured two others.
“We understand the defendants were tried by military judges on the basis of legislation that refers cases of destruction of public property to military courts and in view of the victims being from the Egyptian Military Academy,” OHCHR spokesperson Liz Throssell told reporters at the regular news briefing in Geneva.
“Civilians should only be tried in military or special courts in exceptional cases,” she continued.
OHCHR also urged Egypt to uphold its commitments under Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which it is a State party.
She also stressed the need for a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal.
“In cases of capital punishment, trials must meet the highest standards of fairness and due process. Reports also indicated that the prisoners who were executed may have been subjected to initial enforced disappearance and torture before being tried,” she asserted.