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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/21/19

Despite international outcry, Field Marshal el-Sisi of Egypt executes 9 political prisoners

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Abdus-Sattar Ghazali
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US-client, Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi' regime of Egypt has executed nine young men convicted over the 2015 killing of the country's top prosecutor, a prison source and a lawyer confirmed this morning, despite international condemnation from rights groups over the death sentences.

According to the Middle East Eye, the men were among a group of 28 who were sentenced to death in 2017 for allegedly planning the assassination of prosecutor Hisham Barakat, who was killed in a car bomb attack on his convoy in Cairo two years previously.

Despite allegations that the men were convicted in unfair trials, their appeal was rejected by Egypt's highest appeals court on February 25, 2018. Some 13 others were also convicted in absentia, one of whom Mohammed Abdel-Hafiz was deported from Turkey last month and is likely to face a new trial over the same accusations.

Several of the men said they had been forcibly disappeared and tortured in order to confess to the killing.

On Tuesday, Amnesty International urged Egyptian authorities to halt the executions, condemning Cairo's frequent use of the death penalty.

"There is no doubt that those involved in deadly attacks must be prosecuted and held accountable for their actions but executing prisoners or convicting people based on confessions extracted through torture is not justice," Najia Bounaim, Amnesty International's North Africa campaigns director, said in a statement.

"The death penalty is a cruel, inhuman and irreversible punishment and its use in Egypt is even more appalling given the authorities' track record of handing out death sentences after grossly unfair trials."

Egypt executed six other men in two separate cases this month that were denounced by rights groups as unjust. Some 1,400 people have been sentenced to death since 2013, convicted mostly of incidents of political violence.

Since becoming president following a military coup in 2013, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has ruled Egypt with an iron fist. The government has launched a crackdown on anyone suspected of opposing el-Sisi, with former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, the country's first democratically elected leader, also imprisoned and facing a retrial after previously being sentenced to death.

Amnesty International has described the situation in Egypt as the worst human rights crisis in the country in decades, with the state systematically using arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances to silence any dissent and create an atmosphere of fear.

Abuse and extrajudicial killings are common, with a recent report accusing the Egyptian government of also kidnapping and torturing children, providing evidence that at least six children have been tortured in custody, and a further 12 have been disappeared from their families since 2015.

International human rights organizations have criticized the human rights situation in Egypt in light of a wave of executions and political arrests which have been perpetrated since Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi came to power after a coup in 2013.

HRW condemns execution of 3 Egypt prisoners

On February 8, Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemned the Egyptian authorities' execution of three coup opponents, stating that they were tortured into confessing.

The three men two of whom were university students and the third the owner of a computer shop were imprisoned after Egyptian authorities accused them of killing the son of a judge. On Feb. 7, Egypt executed the three men in Mansoura, east of Alexandria.

Commenting on the death penalty, HRW stated that one of the defendants had sent a letter to Freedom Seekers an observatory established by a group of human rights lawyers and activists which "claimed that their confessions were made under torture".

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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