Nine human rights organizations renewed their condemnation and rejection of a decision by the Court of Cassation, on September 24, which upheld death sentences for 20 people in the case known in the media as ‘Kerdasa Police Station’.
In their statement, the organizations called for an immediate halt of mass executions and for the suspension and review of previous death sentences.
“This verdict came a few days after the September 8th ruling by the Cairo Criminal Court that hannded death sentences to 75 people in a case known in the media as “Rabaa sit-in breakup” this ruling was described by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as a blatant injustice.
The organizations also stressed that these rulings are part of an unprecedented wave of mass executions by Egyptian courts, including the Court of Cassation, against the backdrop of trials that often lack the minimum standards for fair and impartial trials.
The undersigned organizations strongly condemned and rejected this verdict, calling on “the Egyptian authorities to immediately suspend executions, to review the consistency of these provisions with the global trend of abolishing the death penalty and to take into account international and societal demands to stop the issuing and implementing these provisions, especially that the Egyptian judiciary did not respect the rights of the accused in a fair and impartial trial.”
The signatories of the statement are:
Cairo Center for Human Rights Studies, Egyptian Forum for Rights and Freedoms, Committee for Justice, Al Nadeem Center, Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, The Foundation for the Freedom of Thought and Expression, The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, The Arab Foundation for Civil and Political Rights – NIDAL, and Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms.
In May 2016, the Giza Criminal Court ruled to execute 188 individuals in the Kerdasa case in the early stages of the trial, but the Court of Cassation overturned the verdict and ordered a retrial before another circuit after admitting that some trial proceedings were unfit and that the court had violated the rights of the defense.
On 2 July 2017, Circuit 11 sentenced 20 defendants to death, the ruling that the Court of Cassation upheld on 24 September 2018. Thus, the judgments have become final and enforceable; therefore, the number of people on death row rises to more than 50 in different political issues.
The death sentences in Egypt amounted to 826 cases and the number of actual executions is 8 in three cases.
The number of cases in which final rulings had been issued and and awaits the ratification are 4 cases, and they include 21 defendants. The number of cases before the Court of Cassation is 7 and they include 87 defendants.
There are also 58 political cases, some of them adjudged by the ordinary courts or by special circuits, i.e. terror circuits, and 931 defendants were sentenced to death in political cases. Sixteen more await to know their destinies by the end of the mock trials.
During the period from 3 July 2013 till today, judicial decisions had been issued to refer the papers of 1964 citizens to the Mufti office to obtain his religious opinion regarding sentencing them death. Also, the papers of more than 1900 Egyptian citizens were actually referred to the Mufti as a prelude to issue death sentences.