Amnesty criticises Egypt’s confirmation of 183 death sentences

3 February 2015 (Last Updated February 3rd, 2015 18:30)

The Egyptian Government's decision to hand down death penalties to 183 people is a further sign of the country's disregard for national and international law, Amnesty International says.

The Egyptian Government's decision to hand down death penalties to 183 people is a further sign of the country's disregard for national and international law, Amnesty International says.

In December, 188 people were convicted by the Giza criminal court for killing 11 police officers during attacks on Kerdassa Police Station in Giza in August 2013.

The final verdict was issued on 2 February following a trial in the Tora Police Institute.

"To impose death when there are serious doubts hanging over the fairness of the trial is outrageous and flouts international law."

Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa deputy programme director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said: "Today's (2 February) death sentences are yet another example of the bias of the Egyptian criminal justice system.

"To impose death when there are serious doubts hanging over the fairness of the trial is outrageous and flouts international law.

"These verdicts and sentences must be quashed and all of those convicted should be given a trial that meets international standards of fairness and excludes the death penalty."

According to a defence panel, the majority of defendants did not attend a hearing and those who were present could not hear the trial proceedings or communicate with the legal team as they were separated from the rest of the courtroom by a large glass screen.

Prosecution witnesses could not be cross-examined by the defence panel and the judge allegedly did not summon all the witnesses.

According to reports, the families of the defendants were also unable to attend the proceedings.

Sahraoui added: "Not allowing the families or public to attend the trial was in contravention of national and international law and holding the trial in a prison complex undermined the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair and public hearing."

Amnesty alleges that 415 people have been sentenced to death in four trials for killing police officers.