13 March 2022 :
Egyptian authorities executed seven men on 9 and 10 March 2022 in connection with “politically motivated” cases, and after a legal process marred by torture and lack of evidence, a rights group has told Middle East Eye.
The executions raise the number of political death penalty verdicts implemented since President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi came to power in 2014 to 105 people.
According to the Geneva-based Committee for Justice (CFJ), Egyptian prison authorities executed four men on 10 March, roughly a year after the country’s top appeals court upheld their sentences.
The four men, along with 32 other defendants, had been charged with joining a banned group and with the killing of eight police officers in Helwan on 9 January 2016.
The CFJ said that four of the accused were subjected to extrajudicial killings during their arrest.
"The silence of the international community on human rights violations in Egypt, especially the right to life, emboldened the authorities to continue to carry out mass death sentences issued by exceptional trials that lacked the minimum elements of a fair trial," the CFJ said in a statement on 11 March.
It also said that the executed defendants had been subjected to torture and enforced disappearance from the date of their arrest until they were officially brought before the public prosecution.
All the defendants said they were subjected to severe torture inside the headquarters of the National Security Agency, which was used to extract confessions that formed the basis for their referral to trial.
But neither the prosecution nor the court paid any attention to the violations, and the torture allegations have not been investigated, CFJ executive director Ahmed Mefreh told MEE.
Mefreh added that the defendants had no lawyers representing them in the first investigation session, in violation of the Egyptian constitution.
In June 2017, the criminal court added the defendants to “terrorism lists” without a trial or conviction.
The designation had legal implications for the defendants, preventing them from travel, withdrawing their passports, freezing their financial assets and laying off those who work as civil servants, while prohibiting them from working in any government jobs or running for public office.
“It is a politically motivated case, as the suspects were opponents of the Sisi regime and have not been given a fair trial,” Mefreh told MEE.
The case is known in the media as the “Helwan Microbus Cell” case. The four defendants executed on 10 March were Abdullah Mohamed Shoukry, Mahmoud Abdel Tawab Morsi, Mahmoud Abdel Hamid al-Geneidy, and Ahmed Salama Ashmawy.
On 9 March, three other men were executed in connection with the “Soldiers of Egypt” case, more than two years after their sentences were upheld by the court of cassation, on charges of alleged attacks against security forces in 2014 and 2015.
In 2020, 10 defendants in the same case were executed. The three were Belal Ibrahim Sobhy Farahat, Mohamed Hassan Ezzeddin Mohamed Hassan, and Tageddin Monis Mohamed Hemeidah.
The CFJ said the defendants in the "Soldiers of Egypt" case were subjected to enforced disappearance after their arrest and were coerced to make confessions under torture. Lawyers were not permitted to attend their investigation sessions.