Today, October 10, is World Day against the Death Penalty.
Egypt stands as the number one country worldwide in sentencing political opponents to death. Those sentenced include former President, Mohamed Morsi, along with hundreds of young activists opposed to the current government.
The international community and the UK government must take these death sentences very seriously. They must encourage the Egyptian government to impose a moratorium on the use of the death penalty in accordance with UN Resolution 69/186.
Politically-motivated executions do nothing to safeguard the security and interests of Egypt and its allies. Justice and the rule of law are needed for a stable and secure Egypt where British interests are secured.
Ten facts about the death penalty in Sisi’s Egypt:
- In the entire 20th Century, Egypt issued 1,429 death sentences. In the three years since President Sisi seized power in 2013, Egyptian courts have issued at least 1,840 death sentences in 44 politically motivated cases.
- Ten of these cases are military trials against civilians.
- In 2015, Egypt ranked number one worldwide in the number of death sentences handed down to opponents – higher than Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan. A 2015 report by Amnesty International showed that Egypt came first in the list of countries that sentenced defendants to death in that year alone. More than 538 people were sentenced to death in Egypt in 2015. This is significantly higher than countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran, which are known for their disproportionate use of the death penalty.
- In 2015 alone, Egypt issued 27% of all death sentences worldwide, according to data obtained by EgyptWatch.
- Of the total number of death sentences handed down, 97% were in relation to pro-democracy protests.
- At least three women have been sentenced to death in politicised trials.
- In less than two years, at least 15 mass trials have been carried out.
- Under President Sisi’s rule, there has been “a marked rise in actual executions”, according to Reprieve. “Between 2011 and 2013, only one execution was carried out in Egypt; but since January 2014, some months after Sisi seized power, at least 27 people have been executed.”
- Six young men were executed in May 2015 despite evidence by Human Rights Watch that three of them had already been in jail when the crime they were sentenced for was committed.
- Egyptian authorities do not release figures on death sentences and executions, despite repeated requests by human rights groups like Amnesty International and Reprieve. The available figures are collected from publically available sources.
Sources: Human Rights Watch; Amnesty International; Reprieve; The Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms.