EGYPTIAN AMERICANS FOR DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS DENOUNCE DEATH SENTENCE FOR 528 OPPOSITION MEMBERS
WASHINGTON, DC – March 24 2013;
Egyptian Americans for Democracy and Human Rights (EADHR) denounced the death sentence for 528 anti-coup democracy supporters handed down by an Egyptian court. While the court stated that those convicted are guilty of various charges including murdering one Egyptian policeman, the death sentences are evidence of a larger, ongoing campaign using false charges to target, discredit, and repress any opposition to the current military regime since the coup of July 2013.
The defendants’ lawyers stated that the conditions under which the 528 were convicted did not uphold legal standards as they were not able to present their clients’ case and nearly 400 defendants were tried in absentia. Further confirming the mockery of this judiciary process, several judges had previously refused to handle this case due to the lack of evidence. While the defendants have until April 28th to appeal the court’s decision, it is doubtful that they will be provided full recourse of the law, given the military regime’s crackdown on the opposition since the coup and ahead of upcoming elections.
The trial of these 528 opposition members was complete after only 3 days, giving each defendant an average of 9 minutes. Commenting on this obviously show trial, Amnesty International stated that this is the largest batch of simultaneous death sentences they have witnessed anywhere in recent history. Amnesty International’s report further states, “Without an independent and impartial process that can deliver truth and justice for all, many will question whether Egypt’s criminal justice system has indeed anything to do with justice.”
“The continued repression of any opposition to General el-Sisi, the military coup, and the subsequent gross violations of human rights of the Egyptian people demonstrate that the military coup leaders are willing to go to any extent to force their authority,” said Dr.Hany Saqr , President of Egyptian Americans for Democracy and Human Rights. “When a democratically elected leader is deposed in favor of a military junta that detains and kills the people to maintain power and control over the country, their actions cannot and should not be construed as a pathway to democracy. The international community must unite and pressure the regime to protect the lives of all Egyptians, overturn the death sentences, and support fair, transparent and unbiased legal proceedings that meet international standards.”
An additional 700 anti-coup democracy supporters are slated for trial on Tuesday. The military junta has already killed thousands of members of the oppositions as well as detained and disappeared unknown numbers over the last 9 months.
EADHR calls for the immediate release of all political prisoners. EADHR further calls on the international community to hold the Egyptian authorities to international judiciary standards and to hold the Egyptian authorities accountable for their behavior. Specifically, EADHR calls on the international community to monitor all upcoming trials of political opposition prisoners to ensure the defendants are granted their legal right to fair and transparent trials.