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MFA Statement on Verdicts Announced in Egypt

 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic is deeply concerned by reports that on 28 April 2014, a judicial court in the Egyptian city of Minya sentenced to death a total of 683 persons charged with participation in violent riots in Central Egypt in August 2013.

This verdict comes only one month after another 529 defendants were sentenced to death in the same case, by the same court. In addition, it was reported - also on 28 April - that the Grand Mufti (Supreme Judge) of the Egyptian Arab Republic has, upon review, upheld 37 death sentences from the March trial, while commuting the other sentences to life imprisonment.

The unprecedented severity of the verdicts in both trials is particularly shocking since available reports suggest that the defendants have been denied an opportunity for proper defence in court assisted by legal counsel, and therefore the court could not have been able to properly consider the merit of each individual indictment. The outcome is a blow to confidence in the capacity of the Egyptian judiciary system to guarantee a basic level of procedural legality and fairness of verdict.

The Czech Republic strongly calls on the competent Egyptian authorities to take all measures necessary to forestall the enforcement of the issued death sentences, and to order a re-trial, in which the right of each defendant to proper legal defence, as well as to a fair consideration of his/her case in the light of proven individual evidence, will be safeguarded.

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