Egyptian Front monitored the death penalty in Egypt during the first half of 2020. It appears that Egyptian authorities insist on using the death penalty in criminal offenses and are widely using it in political cases. This in addition to violations committed against the defendants in these cases during their trial period and thus infringing their right to a fair trial.
During the first half of 2020, Civil and Military Criminal courts issued 171 death sentences, most of which are criminal cases. Also, the Cassation Court upheld sentences on 10 defendants in 3 cases, most of which are political. Meanwhile, Egyptian authorities executed 34 persons in 11 cases, 3 of which include events of political violence.
Egyptian courts continue to widely use the death penalty in several crimes. A number of 105 crimes are punishable by the death penalty as stipulated by Penal Code no. 58 for the year 1937 and its amendments, Military Code of Justice no. 25 for the year 1966, Firearms and ammunition law no. 394 for the year 1954, and Narcotic Drugs Control law no. 182 for the year 1960.
The death penalty in Egypt is problematic as it is widely used in various crimes not only in heavy ones. Also, the defendants are mostly deprived of their right to a fair trial due to the grave violations of standards of a fair trial.
Within the framework of the monthly monitoring of the death penalty, the Egyptian front has communicated with lawyers and monitored the media for documentation purposes. Egyptian front has documented the execution of 34 defendants, 10 of whom are part of 3 cases of terrorism and political violence known in the media as “Churches bombing”, “Al-Wahat case”, and “Al-Farafra Checkpoint”. It also monitored the confirmation of the Cassation Courts to execute 10 defendants, 7 of whom are part of political violence case known as “Helwan police station”. This in addition to handing down death sentences to 171 defendants, 40 of whom are part of two political violence cases known in the media as “Ansar Beit alMaqdis” (37 to be executed) and “Assassination attempt of Alexandria’s Security Chief” (3 to be executed). 37 out of the 40 are part of “Ansar Beit al Maqdis” and the other 3 are part of the Assassination Attempt case. Meanwhile, the documents of 158 defendants in 59 cases, 40 of whom are part of political cases, were referred to the Grand Mufti for his advisory opinion regarding their death sentence.
The Death penalty situation during the first half of 2020
First: Execution of the death penalty.
Egyptian Front monitored the execution of at least 34 defendants in 11 cases, 8 of whom were convicted in case no. 165 for the year 2017, Military, known in the media as “bombing churches” on February 25, 2020. Hisham Ashmawy was executed on March 4th against the backdrop of case no. 1 for the year 2014, Military, known in the media as “alFarafra Checkpoint”. Abdel Rahim al-Mesmar- was also executed against the backdrop of case no. 160 for the year 2018, West Cairo Military, known in the media as “Al-Wahat Case”.
While Egyptian Front assures it stands against terrorism and does not by any means claim the innocence of any of the aforementioned defendants, it however emphasizes the importance of maintaining fair trial standards for everyone without discrimination. It has appeared that a number of defendants were subjected to enforced disappearances, physical and mental coercion, and the investigation sources were kept unknown. This reveals clear violations to fair trial standards in cases of capital punishment.
An infographic showing the executions during the first half of 2020
Second: Confirming death sentences
The Court of Cassation upheld the death sentence of one person in a criminal case in January 2020. In March, it upheld another death sentence on two defendants’ criminal case. It also confirmed the death sentences of 7 political defendants in case no. 8280/2014 Helwan felonies, known in the media as “Helwan Police Station”. Therefore, the total number of cases upheld by Court of Cassation in the first half of 2020 is 10 in 3 cases.
ِAn Infographic showing the situation of death sentences upheld during the first half of 2020
Third: Death sentences
Egyptian Front monitored death sentences handed down to more than 171 defendants in 73 cases, 40 of whom are part of two political cases; Ansar Beit al Maqdis and Assassination Attempt of Alexandria’s Security Chief cases. Worthy to note that the latter is an emergency state security case where once a verdict is issued from an Emergency state security court it cannot be appealed. Also, 131 defendants were sentenced to death in 71 criminal cases.
An Infographic showing death sentence status during the first half of 2020
Fourth: Referrals to the Grand Mufti
Egyptian courts referred more than 158 defendants in 59 cases to the Grand Mufti to get his advisory religious opinion on their death sentences. 40 of these defendants are part of political cases known as Ansar Beit al Maqdis and Attempted assassination of Alexandria’s security chief.
An Infographic showing the status of Al Mufti referrals during the first half of 2020