On Monday February 2nd, the Giza Criminal Court confirmed death sentences served to 183 defendants with complete neglect to human rights void of any justice, after receiving the advisory opinion of the Grand Mufti.
Human Rights Monitor deems the sentences invalid and an epitome of political revenge and another example of the bias of the Egyptian criminal justice system. It demands a fair retrial in accordance with national and international law since there is no evidence against the defendants.
HRM forwarded a letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on Summary Executions urging him to form a fact finding committee regarding the injustices and crimes by the Egyptian judiciary. It calls for the sentences not to be executed and the dropping of charges leveled against the defendants stressing that it is time to end the disregard of human life in Egypt.
On December 9, 2014, HRM had sent an urgent appeal to the UN following the death sentences served on December 2nd to 185 detainees and their referral to the Grand Mufti describing them as illegitimate. It described the sentence as mass killings making it the third of its kind in 2014. The court was scheduled to issue its ruling on January 24, 2015.
The case had been referred to the Criminal Court after defendants were accused of attacking police headquarters in Kerdasa following the Rabaa and Nahda sit in dispersals on August 14, 2013. Twelve police personnel were killed during the attack and the police station was vandalized and weapons were stolen.
Sentences were issued to 143 defendants who were present while 40 were tried in absentia in December. Among the sentenced were 4 elderly citizens over 60, in addition to a woman, Mrs Samia Shanan and her two sons making it the first death sentence in history against a female. In addition the child Ali Mohamed Farahat Ali Saleh was sentenced to ten years imprisonment. According to the advisory report of the Grand Mufti, the crimes were committed by the defendants who had gathered and attributed missions after holding a meeting together.
Lawyers of defendants confirmed that there isn't any kind of relations between the defendants as the arrest was random and arbitrary aiming at punishing the residence of Kerdasa area which supported former president Mohamed Morsi. Lawyers have also asserted that the verdicts were of political nature and were not based on any law.
The opinion of the Grand Mufti is an advisory opinion and non-binding to the court. The death sentences are not final sentences and according to the law, these sentences must be appealed at the Court of Cessation.
HRM calls on the Egyptian government to drop the charges against the defendants and for their retrial according to the international laws and to release the detainees in the case of no evidence against them,
Furthermore HRM urges the international community to shed light on the violations by the Egyptian judiciary and to not execute the sentence which is a complete infringement and breach to human rights demonstrating complete disregard to the very sanctity of human life especially in the wake of evident bias towards the Egyptian authorities.