11 January, 2018

The executions continue: the execution of three civilians following a military trial demonstrates the Egyptian government’s disregard for all its international obligations

The undersigned rights groups condemn the execution of three defendants, before yesterday, in case no. 93/2011/Ismailiya plenary military felonies, following a trial before a military court that did not meet fair trial standards. With this, 22 civilians have now been put to death following military trials in just three weeks, a toll unprecedented in Egypt’s modern history.

The persons executed before yesterday are Mohammed Gamal al-Sayyed Ateyya, Mohammed Misbah Abd al-Haqq al-Sayyed, and Mohammed Ibrahim al-Baz.

According to information from the families of the defendants, the case originated in March 2011, when Gamal al-Sayyed and Mohammed Misbah Abd al-Haqq returned to their home in Gamasa and found two people there, whom they kicked out. The two people, a man and a woman, went to the Ismailiya police station and filed a report alleging theft and rape against them. The third defendant was added to the case later. Although the woman did not undergo a forensic examination or tests necessary to corroborate the veracity of the allegations, the Ismailiya military court sentenced the three defendants to death on April 10, 2011, after just one trial session convened in the absence of defense attorneys. The sentence was upheld by the High Court for Military Appeals on April 11, 2017.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017: 15 people executed in connection with case no. 411/2013/Ismailiya plenary felonies

Tuesday, January 2, 2018: 4 people executed in connection with case no. 22/2015/Tanta military felonies

Tuesday, January 9, 2018: 4 people executed in connection with case no. 93/2011//Ismailiya plenary military felonies

The undersigned groups have previously expressed their rejection of the prosecution of civilians in military courts, as well as the issuance of death sentences by these courts. More than once, they have expressed their refusal of military trials of civilians. On January 5, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also issued a statement expressing his deep shock at the execution of the latest death sentences against 20 people, especially since those sentences were handed down by military courts that failed to meet fair and equitable trial standards. Similarly, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions has similarly expressed UN concern over “the lack of independence and impartiality of military tribunals, and the absence of fair trial guarantees as prescribed by international human rights law.”

The defense counsel had filed a petition for reconsideration of this case, and the military court had set a session to hear the petition on February 25, 2018. Carrying out the executions ahead of the scheduled hearing is therefore a grave violation of the law and shows absolute disregard for human life. Article 448 of the Code of Criminal Procedure states, “The request for reconsideration shall not entail a stay of the sentence unless it is a death sentence.” In addition, Article 1308 of the General Directives for Prosecutions in Criminal Matters states, “The request for reconsideration shall not entail a stay of the sentence unless it is a death sentence.” In short, a request for a sentencing reconsideration only suspends implementation of a sentence in one case: when the sentence is death.

According to a member of the No to Military Trials for Civilians group who visited the defendants in 2014, Mohammed Gamal al-Sayyed still bore visible signs of torture some three years after the arrest. No reports on the torture were filed and no orders were issued to refer the defendants to the forensic medical examiner.

The undersigned organizations and groups reiterate that the continued issuance of death sentences does not mean justice is served. Continuing to carry out these sentences issued by military tribunals undermines the values of justice and life, and we fear further executions given this unprecedented rate. In 2017, death sentences issued against at least 26 people were affirmed, and their lives could be ended at any moment.

Signatory organizations

  • Al Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture
  • Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms
  • Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)
  • Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression
  • Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
  • Centre for Egyptian Women Legal Assistance
  • Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights
  • Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)
  • No to Military Trials of Civilians


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