Last Updated: Monday, 24 October 2016, 09:30 GMT

Egypt's alarming repressive context: Mass death sentences and a court ban

Publisher International Federation for Human Rights
Publication Date 29 April 2014
Cite as International Federation for Human Rights, Egypt's alarming repressive context: Mass death sentences and a court ban, 29 April 2014, available at: [accessed 24 October 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

29 April 2014

FIDH, member of the World Coalition against the death penalty, strongly condemns the continuous and increasing judicial crackdown on political opponents in Egypt. The Egyptian judiciary has multiplied judicial proceedings and sentences in the course of unfair trials and in flagrant violation of most basic human rights over the past few months. The mass death sentences against Muslim Brotherhood supporters and the banning of activities of the youth grass-roots political movement "April 6th", simultaneously pronounced on 28 April 2014, clearly illustrate this trend.

On 28 April, an Egyptian Court referred the case of 638 alleged Muslim Brotherhood supporters, including the group's supreme guide, Mohamed Badie, sentenced to death on charges of killing of a policeman last August, assaulting security forces and illegal gathering among other acts of violence, to the state grand mufti for his opinion. The same court also confirmed the death sentences of 37 of 529 alleged supporters previously condemned on 24 March. The defendants, whose death sentences were not upheld, were each sentenced to 25 years in prison. FIDH reiterates its firm opposition to the death penalty for all crimes and in all circumstances, as it considers it an inhumane treatment.

The instrumentalization of the judiciary in cracking down on political opponents is not limited to supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, but also youth groups that played an important role in the 25 January revolution. On 28 April, a Cairo court for urgent matters banned the activities of April 6th movement and ordered the closure of its offices. The court stated in its ruling that the April 6th movement received foreign funding, assaulted state institutions, continues to work for foreign interests, and threatens national security. The court invoked article 1 and 11 (2) of Law no. 84 of 2002 on civil associations, which bans associations that "threaten national unity and public order". The case was filed by a lawyer who called on interim President Adly Mansour, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim to freeze the movement's activities and confiscate its headquarters.

FIDH recalls that the restrictive assembly law has given the authorities the legal shield to crackdown on political opponents and human rights defenders. For example, Ahmed Maher, and Mohamed Adel, two of the founding members of the April 6th movement are each currently serving three year imprisonment sentences, and on 7 April, the court of appeals upheld the sentences against Maher, Adel, and Ahmed Douma, prominent activists who were arrested after protesting in November over the restrictive assembly law. Human rights defender Alaa Abdel Fattah, and 24 others are currently facing trial before the terrorism circuit due to their involvement in a protest against military trials for civilians in November 2013.

FIDH calls upon the Egyptian authorities to uphold their international legal obligations arising from the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ICCPR) in particular articles 6, 14, 19 and 22.

FIDH will also encourage the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights whose 55th session started yesterday in Luanda, Angola, to condemn these court decisions and will trigger all other competent and appropriate international procedures.

FIDH calls on the Egyptian authorities to abolish the death penalty for all crimes, impose an immediate moratorium on death sentences and executions, and to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Last Update 29 April

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