Egypt

Death penalty for Rape, if accompanied by kidnapping of the victim; murder; treason; organized drug trafficking

Egypt court sentences 12 IS supporters to death

An Egyptian court sentenced to death 12 members of the Islamic State group Thursday for planning attacks against police and soldiers in the country, a judicial official said.
6 of those who were on trial are behind bars, while the rest are still at large, the official said.
They were convicted of having joined IS — which has declared a “caliphate” in parts of Iraq and Syria under its control — and of plotting to attack members of Egypt’s police force and military.
In Egypt, death sentences are forwarded to the country’s grand mufti, the official interpreter of Islamic law, who then issues a non-binding opinion.
The sentences issued will either be confirmed or commuted on September 12 by the court in the northern province of Sharkia, a court official said.
In a separate trial, 2 cousins were sentenced to three years in prison in the same province for using Facebook to promote the ideology of IS, the official added.

Source: al-monitor.com, August 28, 2015

Egypt’s Sissi Signs Anti-Terror Law

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi signed a new anti-terrorism law Sunday that calls for the death penalty and life sentences for some offenses while also threatening hefty fines for “false reporting” on terror attacks.
Sissi promised in June to strengthen Egypt’s anti-terror laws after a bomb killed the country’s top prosecutor. He blamed that attack on the Muslim Brotherhood, a group his government has labeled as a terrorist organization and cracked down upon since he led the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
Under the new law, those who form or lead a terror group face punishment up to death. Financing terrorism can bring a life sentence, while inciting a terrorist act or preparing to incite an attack are also subject to prison terms.
For journalists, going against the official version of an attack can mean fines of between $25,000 and $64,000. The original draft of the law called for jailing journalists, but that portion was scrapped after an outcry from critics.
Amnesty International called the law “draconian” and said it “represents a flagrant attack on the rights of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists sent a letter to Sissi last month urging him not to sign the restrictions, and to set free all journalists being held in jail in connection with their work.
The highest profile of those cases is due to come to a conclusion on August 29 with an Egyptian court delivering its verdict in the retrial of 3 Al-Jazeera journalists charged with supporting the Brotherhood. The verdict was originally expected earlier this month, but the court has repeatedly delayed the process since Canadian national Mohamed Fahmy, Egyptian Baher Mohamed and Australian Peter Greste were arrested in December 2013.
The journalists, along with Al-Jazeera, have repeatedly insisted they were doing their jobs reporting the news.
The crackdown against the Brotherhood included violent responses to the protests that followed Morsi being pushed from office, leaving more than 1,000 people dead. Authorities have also arrested much of the group’s leadership, including Morsi, and put them on trial in mass proceedings that have included death sentences.
Egypt has also seen a rise in militant attacks in the Sinai Peninsula in the past few years along with the emergence of attacks linked to the Islamic State group.
Source: VOA, August 17, 2015

 

Ibrahim Halawa: Irish teenager’s mass trial in Egypt adjourned until October

The trial of a Dublin teenager held in an Egyptian prison for almost 2 years has been adjourned until 4 October.
Ibrahim Halawa, the son of the most senior Muslim cleric in the Republic of Ireland, was arrested during a siege on the Al-Fath mosque in Cairo in 2013.
The mass trial of Mr Halawa and more than 400 others began in March after being postponed 5 times since his arrest.
Mr Halawa, 19, could face the death penalty if he is convicted.
Mr Halawa was on a family holiday to his parents’ homeland when he and three of his sisters were arrested by Egyptian security forces during a crackdown on protests in the country’s capital.
He was 17 at the time.
His family said he had taken refuge in the building during violent clashes between supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi and the security forces.
His sisters were allowed to return to Dublin in November 2013.
Disappointment
On Sunday, a court in Cairo postponed the mass trial of more than 400 defendants, including Mr Halawa, until 4 October.
Mr Halawa’s trial has now been postponed 8 times.
RTE reports that Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan has expressed his disappointment that Mr Halawa’s case has been further postponed because of the non-attendance of a number of witnesses.
He said he had regularly emphasised to his Egyptian counterpart Same Shoury the importance of due process in the case and the Irish government’s concern at the continued detention of an Irish citizen while awaiting trial.
In Cairo, to attend the trial, were Mr Halawa’s sister Khadija, his solicitor Darragh Mackin and MEP Lynn Boylan, but they were not inside the courtroom.
Mr Mackin said he and colleague Gavin Booth, who are both from the Belfast-based law firm firm KRW Law, were told they were not allowed access to the court.
“Not allowing a lawyer to access his client’s hearing is gravely concerning and belies any suggestion that fair trial requirements are being met,” he said.
“Our client, Ibrahim Halawa, has now been held for almost 2 years without trial.
“We are concerned that there has been yet another delay, this time of a further two months. Ibrahim was aged 17 when arrested – he is now 19.”
Source: BBC news, August 3, 2015

 

Egypt president to change law to permit speedy executions

Egypt’s President, General Abdel-Fattah al Sisi, has said he wants to change the law to allow for quicker executions in the country.
In remarks at the funeral of Egypt’s Attorney-General Hisham Barakat, who died after a car bomb attack on Monday, Sisi is reported to have said: “The arm of justice is chained by the law. We’re not going to wait for this. We’re going to amend the law to allow us to implement justice as soon as possible”. He added: “If there is a death sentence, a death sentence shall be enforced.”
The decision to expedite executions for those sentenced to death raises fears for scores of people arrested in the military’s 2013 breakup of protests. Many face possible death sentences in mass trials that fail to meet international standards; including juveniles such as Irish teenager Ibrahim Halawa, who is being tried as an adult alongside 493 other people. Ibrahim, a student from Dublin, was 17 and visiting family in Cairo when he was arrested in August 2013. Now 19, he has reported torture and mistreatment throughout his two years of pre-trial detention.
Commenting, Maya Foa, the head of Reprieve’s death penalty team, said: “In Egypt we’ve already seen scores of innocent people – including juveniles such as Ibrahim Halawa – arrested for the mere ‘crime’ of being at or near a protest. Thousands still face torture, ‘mass trials’, and the threat of hanging. It is sickening that President Sisi now wants to dismantle what little checks remain to prevent wrongful executions. This wave of repression has done nothing to restore law and order in Egypt – Sisi must urgently change course, before any more lives are lost.”
Source: Reprieve, June 30, 2015

 

Egyptian justice system is broken, Amnesty International says

June 18, 2015

Amnesty International condemned the sentences handed down to the 1st freely elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and more than 100 of his aides and supporters, the Anadolu Agency reported yesterday.
“To stop the death sentences, we will organise widespread protests throughout our offices all over the world,” Amnesty spokeswoman in Sweden Elisabeth Lofgren said. “These sentences prove that the justice system has broken down in Egypt,” she added.
Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui told Anadolu: “These entire legal proceedings have been a mockery of justice and the death sentences must be thrown out.”
She added: “Mohamed Morsi and his aides must be released or retried in civilian court in line with Egyptian law and international fair trial standards without recourse to the death penalty.”
Meanwhile, the French Human Rights League (LdH) slammed the trials for being unfair, saying: “Everyone is entitled to a fair trial and the various trials underway in Egypt, whether they concern the Muslim Brotherhood or the democrats, do not have anything fair and are therefore not acceptable, let alone when there are death sentences.”
Yesterday, an Egyptian court sentenced former President Mohamed Morsi to death over jailbreak charges. The court also sentenced five leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, including Mohamed Badie, to death on charges of taking part in a mass jailbreak in 2011.
Nearly 100 others were sentenced in absentia, including prominent Muslim scholar Yusuf Al-Qaradawi.
Source: Middle East Monitor, June 18, 2015

Military regime sentences 529 Egyptians to death: Convictions highlight the continued tension around Egypt’s New Government

April 11, 2014

Sayyaf Gamal, 21, is on the run after being convicted of murder by a court in Minya, Egypt, 150 miles south of Cairo.

Despite claiming that he was not part of the mob that killed a deputy police chief, Gamal received a death sentence in absentia on March 24 along with 528 other people whom the military government claims participated in the attacks.

“We did not expect such a brutal sentence,” said Gamal to Reuters in a phone interview. “But at the same time, this military regime just wants to kill anybody who wants to express an opinion.”

The convicted are members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the party that held power before the military coup in July. The military government has labeled the Brotherhood a terrorist organization.

“The Muslim Brotherhood is a source of ire for mainstream politicians,” said Ziad Najjar, owner of Greensboro’s Hookah Hook-up, who is of Jordanian descent.

Out of the 545 defendants, only 123 were present during the trial. The rest were released on bail or, like Gamal, are in hiding.

The first court session began on March 22 but was brought to a close by an argument between the judge and attorneys. When the court reconvened on Monday, the judge delivered his decision: 16 of the 545 defendants were exonerated, while the rest were sentenced to hang.

The trial has highlighted tension surrounding Egypt’s military government both at home and abroad.

In Egypt, the sentence has sparked violent confrontations between security forces and protestors sympathetic to the Brotherhood resulting in at least six deaths and more arrests on March 28.

Other Egyptians, however, feel that the condemned deserve the sentence.

“These people have committed murder, and they must be killed in return,” said Amin Fatouh, a resident of Cairo, to the Boston Herald.

Despite the possibility of appeal, the haste and scope of the trial have drawn criticism from international human rights organizations.

Amnesty International released a statement referring to the sentence as “grotesque,” and Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, told a Geneva news conference that the trial “is a breach of international human rights law.”

The U.S. has been more cautious in its response.

“It defies logic that over 529 defendants could be tried in a two-day period in accordance with international standards,” said Marie Harf, deputy spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, during a press briefing.

However, Harf also emphasized the importance of maintaining relationships with the Egyptian government. When the possibility of sanctions against Egypt was suggested, she said that the U.S. was still “trying to ascertain all the facts.”

According to Sanjay Marwah, assistant professor of justice and policy studies at Guilford College, the U.S. is unlikely to use sanctions or other forms of pressure on the Egyptian government.

“The U.S. and other Western European nations do not seem to mind dictators, because security is more paramount than democracy,” said Marwah.

The eventual fate of the convicted remains unknown.

“Even though Egypt has a relatively low execution rate, the fear of civil war or continuous instability might result in a departure from normal patterns,” said Adrienne Israel, vice president for academic affairs and academic dean at Guilford. “These trials have been held in a political context. It is hard to determine in what direction a criminal justice system in any country will take under these kinds of circumstances.”

Gamal had his own view of the government’s motives.

“They are willing to kill everybody so that there is no freedom of expression,” said Gamal to Reuters.

http://www.guilfordian.com)eg

Egypt: 26 face death penalty over Suez Canal plot

february 27, 2014

An Egyptian court has sentenced 26 people to death for conspiring to attack ships transiting the Suez Canal.

The defendants were accused and found guilty of “founding and leading a terror group that aimed to attack peoples freedom, damage national unity and attack the Suez Canal waterway” says an official statement by the Cairo Criminal Court.

This includes plans to attack ships passing the canal, security buildings, foreign tourists and local police.

A verdict was given after a single session. Only one defendant, less than 18 years old, managed to escape the death sentence.

The case has been passed on to the Grand Mufti, a top Muslim cleric who must approve all executions, with a final decision to be made on March 19th.

Defendants were charged in absentia. If and when they are finally caught, they will be allowed a re-trial. According to the Washington Post it is common for defendants to receive the death penalty when tried in absentia.

Terrorist activity along the canal has been on the increase in recent years, since the ousting of Egyptian president Hosri Mubarak in 2011. Tensions were only fuelled further by the forced expulsion of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammad Morsi in July 2013 via military intervention.

Many of the attacks have been supposedly committed by Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, an al-Qaida linked organisation.

Another group, Furqan Bridgades made several claims in regards to attacks along the canal last year.*

It is unknown whether the convicted men in question are associated with either group.

However, according to Times of India, the trial covers a series of offences that happened before the Arab Spring uprising, at some time between 2004 and 2009.

(Source: Port Technology)