The Court of Cessation is to consider January 6th, 2016, the death sentences served by Giza's Criminal Court to 183 defendants in the media dubbed Kerdasa Massacre case. The same court has also issued 10 year sentences and two were acquitted.
On December 2nd, 2014 Cairo's Criminal Court held at the Tora Police Academy referred the papers of 185 defendants accused in the case to the Mufti in case number 12749/2013 making it the third rule of its kind with mass sentencing of defendants in 2014. The hearings are void of integrity, justice and transparency and are a complete violation to all human rights.
On February 2nd, 2015 following the January 25th commemoration the death penalty was served and an appeal date was set a fortnight before the 2016 anniversary raising doubts of politicizing and manipulating he judiciary's final verdict.
The case was referred to criminal court after prosecution accused defendants of breaking into the main police station in Kerdasa, killing at least 11 policemen, mutilating their bodies, stealing firearms and the attempted murder of 10 others on August 14th, 2013 after police forces forcibly dispersed two sit-ins following the Rabba brutal dispersal of peaceful protestors.
The case includes several violations including the storming and breaking into the homes on 17 defendants, confiscation of gold, electronic devices, mobiles, laptops, and money. Five houses were burnt in the process and residents trying to turn out the fire were arrested randomly. On November 19th, 2013 women and children were assaulted during the arrests of relatives and were threatened with firearms to force them to disclose where those wanted were.
Detainees were beaten and dragged during their arrest and transfer to the security forces camps and they were subjected to further violations and degrading treatment. They were stripped and beaten with steel rods, flogged, electrocuted and hung from the ceiling in a revengeful manner in an effort to extract confessions to fabricated crimes.
Prosecution turned a blind eye to the defendants' illegal arrests and torture which was evident during interrogation. Police officials attended the questioning and forced detainees to confess with threats of continued torture if they did not admit to the crimes.
This deems the prosecution a biased accomplice in the crime against the defendants supporting the police in their testimonies, disregarding the torture and unjustly referring the case to Giza's Criminal Court following extracted confessions. This violates article 15 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment each State Party shall ensure that any statement which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings, except against a person accused of torture as evidence that the statement was made.
The trial continued for 25 hearings from March 27th, 2014 up to February 2nd, 2015. The defendants were placed in glass cages and were isolated and deprived of hearing the sessions. Requests by the defendants' lawyers to hear witnesses' testimonies were denied and judges listened only to testaments by 85 security forces and depended only on police investigation violating all laws.
The 149 defendants have been dressed in the death row red jumpsuits for a year. One female Samia Shannon 50 is among the sentenced defendants she too was subjected to all forms of torture to confess to the crimes.
It is worth noting that appeals are normally submitted within 60 days of the verdict which in this case was issued on February 2nd, 2015. The appeal for the case is considered the longest period in between hearings.
HRM sent an urgent appeal on December 9th, 2014 to the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions following the verdict on February 3rd, 2015 calling for an investigation into the crimes committed against the defendants urging the sentence to be revoked and not to be carried out or served to any other Egyptian citizen.
HRM renews its calls to the Egyptian authorities to not carry out the sentences and to retry the defendants in a free, fair, transparent and unbiased and hearing. It calls for compensation for all defendants following the torture during their detention in accordance to article 14 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment which states:
1. Each State Party shall ensure in its legal system that the victim of an act of torture obtains redress and has an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation, including the means for as full rehabilitation as possible. In the event of the death of the victim as a result of an act of torture, his dependants shall be entitled to compensation.
2. Nothing in this article shall affect any right of the victim or other persons to compensation which may exist under national law.