11 March 2020 :
UN human rights experts on 6 March 2020 urged the Egyptian authorities to release four Egyptians minors who have been tried through a process tainted with credible allegations of torture to extract confessions and who are now facing death sentences in a mass trial. The verdict is expected to be announced on 9 March 2020.
The urgent appeal by the UN experts comes after the recent adoption of the Opinion (No. 2019/65) of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) concerning the four minors, who have been tried before a military court along with more than 300 individuals. The WGAD opinion recommends that the four minors be released.
After their arrest, the minors were held incommunicado for several months, tortured to obtain confession and denied their right to a fair trial. Their confessions obtained through torture were reportedly introduced into the court proceedings as evidence despite such tainted evidence being inadmissible. In view of these facts, the Working Group has declared their detention arbitrary.
"Furthermore, capital punishment would run counter to the duty of Egypt under international law that requires the death sentence to be only permissible for offences which meet the 'most serious crimes' threshold, as established in article 6 (2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a treaty Egypt has signed and ratified," the experts said.
"Moreover, the death penalty must never be applied to juveniles, this is a breach of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. There is also no legal justification to try these minors, who are civilians, by a military court.