Violation of the right to life and the right to a fair trial
Egypt UPR Briefing Paper October 2019 - Egyptian Front for Human Rights
Relevant recommendations accepted by Egypt in 2014
In the 2nd cycle of Egypt’s UPR, Egypt received the following recommendations relating to the death penalty:
- Ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which provides for the abolition of the death penalty (noted by Egypt)
- Issue an immediate moratorium on the death penalty (noted)
- Take measures to ensure due process and fair trials, particularly in any proceeding that could entail the application of the death penalty (supported)
- Egypt also received several recommendations urging to end/limit the trials of civilians before military courts (noted)
Implementation of the above recommendations since 2014
Egyptian courts (both civilian and military) have unprecedentedly issued death sentences since July 2013, and the authorities have carried out a large number of them, drawing numerous domestic and international human rights criticism. Civilians tried before military courts were sentenced to death, in trials that lacked basic fair trial guarantees.
- At least 737 people were sentenced to death (from civil and military courts) compared to 402 in 2017 including both political and non-political cases. At least 46 people were executed during this year.
- The military sentenced to death at least 51 people, 37 of them in political cases, bringing the number of people on death row awaiting execution at any time now to 65 persons.
- There are 13 cases of political nature where death sentences have been implemented; 8 of them were issued by military courts, resulting in the execution of at least 48 people.
Legislation passed since June 2013 have increased the offences carrying the death penalty, for example: the Penal Code (58/1937) and its amendments in 2013, the Military Provisions Law (25/1966) the Arms and Ammunition Law (394/1954) and the Anti-Drug Law (182/1960). Furthermore, the Egyptian President issued Decision (136/2014), which designates vital infrastructure as military facilities, which allowed civilians accused in cases of political nature to be tried before military courts.
Human rights violations that breached fair trial standards for citizens who had been executed
Since July 2013, the 48 people who were executed were subjected to numerous human rights violations that breached fair trial standards, including:
- torture, enforced disappearance, inhumane treatment, denial of medical care;
- Interrogation without legal representation;
- the lack of independence of the courts before which they were tried where trials were conducted in a “closed” manner, violating the principle of trail’s public openness; denial of litigation proceedings such as petitioning;
- Judgments were based on investigations by security and military intelligence agencies, and not any other material evidence.
We urge your government to make the following recommendations to Egypt in the upcoming UPR:
- Amendment of the Penal Code (58/1937) and its amendments in 2013, the Military Provisions Law (25/1966) the Arms and Ammunition Law (394/1954) and the Anti-Narcotics Law (182/ 1960) in preparation for the abolition of death sentences.
- Revocation of Law (136/2013) and amendment of Article 204 of the Egyptian Constitution to limit the military judiciary to the trial of military personnel only.
- Impose a moratorium on executions of all persons sentenced to final death sentences since 2013 and until now;
- Order re-trials for cases where violations of the right to fair trial were documented
- Conduct independent, impartial and prompt investigations into the violations of the rights to fair trial by the judicial and executive authorities, bring the perpetrators to justice and provide victims with the right to effective remedy in accordance with international standards
- Accept the visit of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers
- Immediately ending the practice of enforced disappearance and criminalizing it in a clear and explicit provision in the Egyptian Penal Code as an imperceptible crime that is not subject to the statute of limitations.
8.Ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.