Egypt: First execution in relation to political violence sets dangerous precedent

11/03/2015
Press release
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FIDH strongly condemns the execution of Mahmud Ramadan, and calls on the Egyptian authorities to establish an immediate moratorium on death sentences and executions.

"The execution of Ramadan sets a very worrying precedent in light of the mass death sentences issued against political opponents by Egyptian courts since summer 2013, in trials that are marred by irregularities and violations of due process”, declared Karim Lahidji, FIDH President.

Mahmoud Ramadan was sentenced to death on charges of murder in relation to clashes that erupted in Alexandria on July 5th, 2013 in the aftermath of the removal of former president Mohamed Morsi from office. In very shocking videos circulated online widely, Morsi supporters, including Ramadan, were shown allegedly stabbing a child. According to official figures, at least 17 people died that day. Ramadan was arrested on July 7th, 2013 with 57 other people and was facing charges including the murder of four people, attempted murder of eight people, unauthorized protest, destroying public and private property, using violence and belonging to a banned group. Ramadan was sentenced to death and the 57 others to life imprisonment. The appeal was rejected in February 2015. On March 7th, the Ministry of Interior announced that he was executed.

FIDH firmly opposes the death penalty for all crimes and in all circumstances, as it considers it an inhumane treatment and in some cases a form of torture. Further, FIDH fears that the conviction was a result of an unfair trial.

FIDH recalls that mass death sentences have been handed down against primarily supporters of Mohamed Morsi in relation to political violence since July 2013. A criminal court in Minya sentenced over 1,000 defendants to death between March and April 2014; 221 of them had their death sentences confirmed. In December 2014, a criminal court referred the death sentences of 188 people to the Grand Mufti for its review. In response to the mass deaths sentences, a group of African and UN human rights experts issued several calls highlighting the “staggering violation of international human rights law by Egypt”.

FIDH reiterates its call for the immediate cancellation of all death sentences, and the ordering of re-trials whilst making sure that fair trial guarantees will be respected in accordance with international standards. The Egyptian authorities should ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

FIDH calls on the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to denounce the execution and call upon the Egyptian authorities to refrain from carrying out any further executions.

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