An Egyptian court Thursday affirmed death sentences for 21 people who were alleged to be Islamic Militants associated with a terror group.
Handed down by the Court of Cassation, the country’s highest civilian court, this appeal comes from a ruling delivered by the Cairo criminal court in March 2020 in which 208 suspects were indicted. The suspects were convicted over terrorism-related charges including more than 54 terrorist attacks in which at least 57 people were reported to have died, with another 340 being injured.
The suspects whose appeal was denied were also indicted for their association with Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis (ABM) – a banned jihadist group. ABM has been classified as “the most active and capable terrorist group” in Egypt.
Additionally, 149 other defendants were also indicted in the same case, with them receiving a wide range of sentences. The high court’s ruling on this case is final and the appellant’s avenues for relief have now been extinguished.
These recent convictions reflect a trend of increasing death sentences in Egypt. In 2021, the country executed 83 individuals, the majority of whom were convicted in unfair trials, with no right to appeal. The extension of the term of emergency courts, even after the cessation of the state of emergency, is an important enabler for the continued application of capital punishment in these circumstances.
Amnesty International has called on the Egyptian government to implement constitutional safeguards for persons potentially facing the death penalty including putting the necessary channels of appeal for all convicts of the capital punishment.