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Death Penalty Database

Egypt

Information current as of: April 1, 2011

General

Official Country Name

Arab Republic of Egypt (Egypt). [1]

Geographical Region

Africa (Northern Africa). [2]

Death Penalty Law Status

Retentionist. The last execution was carried out in 2015. [3]

Methods of Execution

Hanging.
“Any person who is sentenced to capital punishment shall be hanged.” [4]

References

[1] U.S. Department of State, Background Note: Egypt, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5309.htm, Mar. 5, 2010.
[2] U.N. World Macro Regions and Components, U.N. Doc. ST/ESA/STAT/SER.R/29, 2000.
[3] News 24, Egypt hangs five for murder and theft, http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/Egypt-hangs-five-for-murder-and-theft-20150426, Apr. 26, 2015.
[4] Egypt Penal Code, art. 13, Law No. 58 of 1937, as amended by Law No. 5 of 2010, translated by: The Middle East Library for Economic Services, 2010.

Country Details

Language(s)

Arabic [1]

Population

80,335,036. [2]

Number of Individuals Currently Under Sentence of Death

We believe there are at least 1,700 people under sentence of death, but no official figures are available due to intense state secrecy surrounding capital punishment. Amnesty International indicates that at least 1,413 death sentences were issued between 2007 and 2014. [3] In recent years there has been a sharp increase in courts’ use of capital punishment, with the number of death sentences jumping from 109 in 2013 to at least 509. [4] Since the beginning of 2015, there have been reports of at least 354 death sentences, [5] some of which may be reviewed or appealed.

Since 2007, 38 executions are known to have been carried out, [6] In recent years there has been a sharp increase in courts’ use of capital punishment following several mass trials marred by grossly unfair procedures, with the number of death sentences jumping from 109 in 2013 to at least 509 in 2014. [7] We know of 4 commutations and acquittals, [8] so we estimate that there are at least 1,700 people on death row.

(This question was last updated on June 1, 2015.)

Annual Number of Reported Executions

Executions in 2016 to date (last updated on November 29, 2016)

0. [9]

Executions in 2015

According to Amnesty International, at least 22 executions were carried out in 2015. [10]

Per capita execution rate in 2015

1 execution per 7,303,185 persons

Executions in 2014

At least 15. [11]

Per capita execution rate in 2014

1 execution per 10,041,879 persons

Executions in 2013

0. [12]

Per capita execution rate in 2013

0 executions.

Executions in 2012

0. [13]

Per capita execution rate in 2012

0 executions.

Executions in 2011

1. [14]

Per capita execution rate in 2011

1 execution per 80335036 persons.

Executions in 2010

4. [15]

Executions in 2009

5. [16]

Executions in 2008

At least 2. [17] Amnesty provides varying figures regarding the number of executions in 2008, due at least in part to the secrecy surrounding executions in Egypt.

Executions in 2007

0. [18] Amnesty International was unable to confirm any reports of executions in its annual report on the subject.

Year of Last Known Execution

2015. [19]

References

[1] U.S. Department of State, Background Note: Egypt, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5309.htm, Mar. 5, 2010.
[2] U.S. Department of State, Background Note: Egypt, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5309.htm, Mar. 5, 2010.
[3] Datablog, Death penalty statistics, country by country: Egypt, The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/mar/29/death-penalty-countries-world, last accessed Sep. 20, 2012. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, ACT 50/001/2012, Mar. 27, 2012. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, ACT 50/001/2012, Apr. 9, 2013. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[4] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[5] Al Jazeera, Egypt confirms death sentences for 183 people, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/02/egypt-confirms-death-sentences-183-people-150202104339567.html, Feb. 2, 2015. Cairo Post, Court upholds death penalty, life sentences for those who threw 4 off roof, http://www.thecairopost.com/news/136175/news/court-upholds-death-penalty-life-sentences-for-those-who-threw-4-off-roof, Feb. 5, 2015. El-Sayed Gamal El-Din, Egypt court sentences three to death on Al-Qaeda espionage charges, Ahram, http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/122490/Egypt/Politics-/Egypt-court-sentences-three-to-death-on-AlQaeda-es.aspx, Feb. 8, 2015. El-Sayed Gamal El-Din, In final verdict, 4 sentenced to death for 2006 rape in Egypt, Ahram, http://english.ahram.org.eg/WriterArticles/NewsContentP/1/123427/Egypt/Search.aspx?Text=%20Kafr%20El-Sheikh, Feb. 19, 2015. Reuters, Egyptian court sentences Muslim Brotherhood leader to death, The Guardian, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/11/egyptian-court-muslim-brotherhood-death-sentences-mohammed-badie, Apr. 11, 2015. Abdelhalim Abdallah, Egypt court sentences 11 to death over 2012 football riot, AFP, http://news.yahoo.com/egypt-court-sentences-11-death-over-2012-football-094340079.html, Apr. 19, 2015. PTI, Five Islamists sentenced to death in Egypt, The Times of India, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/Five-Islamists-sentenced-to-death-in-Egypt/articleshow/47150263.cms, May 4, 2015. Al Jazeera, Egypt’s Ex-President Morsi sentenced to death, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/05/egypt-sentences-mohammed-morsi-death-150516091845111.html, May 17, 2015. AFP, Egypt sentence 8 jihadists to death, France 24, http://www.france24.com/en/20150527-egypt-sentences-eight-jihadists-death, May 27, 2015. Brian Rohan, Egypt sentences 22 to death over 2013 attack on police station that killed one officer, AP, http://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2015/04/20/roadside-bomb-kills-3-egyptian-troops-in-sinai, Apr. 20, 2015.
[6] Datablog, Death penalty statistics, country by country: Egypt, The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/mar/29/death-penalty-countries-world, last accessed Sep. 20, 2012. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, ACT 50/001/2012, Mar. 27, 2012. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, ACT 50/001/2012, Apr. 9, 2013. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[7] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[8] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, p. 47, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[9] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[10] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2015, ACT 50/3487/2016, Apr. 6, 2016. See e.g. News 24, Egypt hangs five for murder and theft, http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/Egypt-hangs-five-for-murder-and-theft-20150426, Apr. 26, 2015. News 24, Egypt hangs 6 convicted Islamist militants, http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/Egypt-hangs-6-convicted-Islamist-militants-20150517, May 17, 2015.
[11] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015. FIDH, Egypt: Implementation of death sentences is a critical precedent, http://www.fidh.org/en/north-africa-middle-east/egypt/15637-egypt-implementation-of-death-sentences-is-a-critical-precedent, Jun. 25, 2014.
[12] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014.
[13] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, ACT 50/001/2012, Apr. 9, 2013.
[14] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, ACT 50/001/2012, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT50/001/2012/en, Mar. 27, 2012.
[15] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2010, p. 5, ACT 50/001/2011, Mar. 28, 2011.
[16] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[17] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, p. 8, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009.
[18] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2008.
[19] News 24, Egypt hangs five for murder and theft, http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/Egypt-hangs-five-for-murder-and-theft-20150426, Apr. 26, 2015.

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

Crimes Punishable by Death

Aggravated Murder.
Premeditated killing, [1] especially by poisoning, is punishable by death. Other deliberate murder is punishable by death if associated with another crime, gang intimidation or robbery, or a terrorist purpose. Intentional arson of a building, resulting in the deaths of persons who were present in the building at the outbreak of the fire, is punishable by death. [2]

Murder.
While we did not find clear statutory support for the application of the death penalty for simple murder, in-country sources and foreign experts on the subject indicate that the death penalty might apply for simple murder. [3] The APRO’s later submission to the Human Rights Council for its 2010 Universal Periodic Review of human rights in Egypt indicated similar statistics. [4]

Other Offenses Resulting in Death.
Arson resulting in the death of persons present in the building at the outbreak of the fire is punishable by death, and gang robbery or intimidation resulting in death may be death-eligible. [5]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Resulting in Death.
The use of violence to cause harm, terror, ecological disaster, or other social disruptions is terrorism. Murder for terrorism is punishable by death. Causing death by terrorism in an attempt to force people to join or maintain membership in anti-state or terrorist organizations is punishable by death. Causing death in conjunction with a hijacking of any form of transportation or destruction of a government facility, utility or place for public use is punishable by death. Causing death by bombing is punishable by death. Causing the death of enforcement personnel in conjunction with a terrorist act is punishable by death. [6]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
A wide and vaguely-defined range of terrorism-related offenses not necessarily resulting in death are punishable by death; such offenses include: founding an organization that opposes the state through use of violence aimed at causing harm, terror, ecological disaster or other social disruption; cooperation with a foreign country or organization in carrying out or attempting a terrorist act; gang attacks on the people, armed resistance to authorities or seizure of government or public facilities, or leadership of a gang that would perform such activities; usurping military authority or leading armed gangs for criminal purposes (such as plundering); or other violent actions. [7] Under Article 83(A) of the Penal Code, a wide range of violent, non-violent and inchoate actions —which plausibly include propagating “extremist thought” or sectarian divisions—aimed at undermining Egypt’s independence, unity or territorial integrity or aimed at assisting an enemy in time of war can be construed as terrorism punishable by death. [8]

Under Article 26 of the Arms and Ammunition Law No. 394 of 1954, as amended by Law No. 165 of 1981, possessing or acquiring arms, ammunition or explosives for the inchoate purpose of disrupting the government, public security or peace, national unity, constitutional principles or the law is punishable by death. [9]

Rape Not Resulting in Death.
Kidnapping of a female aggravated by rape (including statutory rape) is punishable by death. [10]

Kidnapping Not Resulting in Death.
Kidnapping of a female aggravated by rape (including statutory rape) is punishable by death. [11]

Drug Trafficking Resulting in Death.
Assaulting officers of the law in connection with drug activities is punishable by death if the act results in death. [12]

Drug Trafficking Not Resulting in Death.
Trafficking and activities such as manufacture or possession in connection with trafficking is punishable by death. [13]

Drug Possession.
Drug possession is punishable by death if drugs are held for trade. [14]

Treason.
A variety of treasonous offenses are punishable by death, such as: intentionally undermining Egypt’s independence, unity or territorial integrity; fighting against Egypt or assisting Egypt’s enemies or inciting the same; demoralizing the troops or people; undermining the defense of Egypt, particularly in time of war; breaching defense contracts at time of war; interference with the constitutional order; armed attempts to overthrow the government; or other offenses. Treason is ultimately a vaguely-defined offense in Egypt: for example, under Article 83(A), cumulative with Article 98(C), capital punishment could be inflicted on a person who founds an unauthorized organization if a court determines there was an intent to affect Egypt’s unity; cumulatively with Article 98(F), Article 83(A) could apply the death penalty for propagating “by talk or in writing, or any other method, extremist thoughts.” [15]

Espionage. [16]

Military Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
Reports indicate that under Articles 130-154 of the martial Law No. 25 of 1966, a number of military offenses not resulting in death may be punishable by death, such as desertion, insubordination, looting, dereliction of duty, ill-treatment of the wounded, assisting the enemy and abuse of power. [17]

Other Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
- Perjury.
Bearing false witness in a capital case is punishable by death if it results in the execution of an innocent person. [18]
-Serious violations of humanitarian law.
Reports indicate that some of the offenses under Articles 130-154 of the martial Law No. 25 of 1966, such as ill-treatment of the wounded, might be construed as violations of humanitarian law. [19]

Does the country have a mandatory death penalty?

No. Under the Penal Code, “if the conditions of the crime…necessitate the judge’s lenity, the penalty may be changed…” from capital punishment to life imprisonment or aggravated imprisonment (incarceration in a prison facility). [20] Articles that exclude the application of Article 17 either do not reference capital crimes or else specifically permit the application of Article 17 in the case of capital punishment. [21] Some reports state that Egypt's death penalty is mandatory for some drug trafficking offenses, [22] but our reading of our copy of the law is that it explicitly permits discretion under Article 17 of the Penal Code, while limiting its range. [23] Additionally, reports indicate that according to Article 381 of the Criminal Procedure Code, sentencing must be unanimous in the case of the death penalty, and under Article 448 an individual can apply for re-sentencing. An Arab Penal Reform Organization report by a human rights expert and attorney in Egypt discussed appeals and death sentences, arguing that the Court of Cassation uses appellate review to restrict application of the death penalty to serious ordinary crimes. [24] The death penalty is on some occasions applied by unreviewable courts of arbitrary jurisdiction controlled by the executive, [25] but arbitrary application of the death penalty would not be legally mandated in such a situation.

For Which Offenses, If Any, Is a Mandatory Death Sentence Imposed?

Although our analysis can be contested, we do not believe there is a mandatory death penalty in Egypt.

Crimes For Which Individuals Have Been Executed Since January 2008:

Aggravated Murder.
On March 11, 2010 a man and woman were executed for killing the woman’s husband (which the court must have concluded was planned and/or in association with an affair) despite evidence that the woman had acted alone and in self-defense against her husband, who had beaten her repeatedly. [26]

Comments.
While Amnesty International reports that at least 9 people have been executed in Egypt since January 2008, we have not been able to ascertain the crimes for which seven of the nine were convicted. A 2008 Arab Penal Reform Organization report indicates that death sentences are most frequently confirmed for aggravated murder, simple murder and felony murder, with a few confirmed for aggravated rape, drug offenses and crimes tried in exceptional courts for crimes related to state security or terrorism. [27] The APRO’s later submission to the Human Rights Council for its 2010 Universal Periodic Review of human rights in Egypt indicated similar statistics. [28]

Categories of Offenders Excluded From the Death Penalty:

Individuals Below Age 18 At Time of Crime.
While we have not found any Egptian law on this subject, Egypt is party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Committee on the Rights of the Child in its 2001 Concluding Observations observed that those under 18 are considered “children,” expressed concern that those aged 18 to 20 may not receive the same protections as those afforded to those under 18, and did not express any concern that individuals in Egypt may be executed for crimes committed while under the age of 18. [29]

Pregnant Women.
Under Article 476 of the Criminal Procedure Code, a pregnant woman cannot be executed until two months after her child’s birth. [30]

Women With Small Children.
Under Article 476 of the Criminal Procedure Code, a pregnant woman cannot be executed until two months after her child’s birth, [31] but we are unaware of any specific exemption for women with small children.

Mentally Ill.
Whoever suffers from a psychological or mental disorder that disrupts understanding or the faculty of choice cannot be held liable; diminishment without complete disruption justifies leniency. [32]

References

[1] Egypt Penal Code, art.230, Law No. 58 of 1937, as amended by Law No. 5 of 2010, translated by: Middle East Library for Economic Services, 2010.
[2] Egypt Penal Code, arts.126 cum. 234, 233, 234, 257, 375(2), Law No. 58 of 1937, as amended by Law No. 5 of 2010, translated by: Middle East Library for Economic Services, 2010.
[3] Dr. Mohamed Al Ghamry, Death Penalty In Egypt: Theoretical and Practical Study in the Light of Islamic Shariah and International Human Rights Law, p. 23-35, Arab Penal Reform Organization, http://www.aproarab.org/modules.php?name=Reports_Publications, 2008.
[4] Arab Penal Reform Organization, Submission to the Human Rights Council’s 2010 Universal Periodic Review of Egypt, http://lib.ohchr.org/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/Session7/EG/APRO_UPR_EGY_S07_2010_ArabPenalReformOrganization.pdf, 2009. See also Roger Hood and Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, 4th ed., p. 69, Oxford University Press, 2008.
[5] Egypt Penal Code, art. 257, 375(2), Law No. 58 of 1937, as amended by Law No. 5 of 2010, translated by: Middle East Library for Economic Services, 2010.
[6] Egypt Penal Code, arts. 86, 86 Bis(2)(-B), 88, 88 Bis-A88(2)(B), 90, 102(C), 234, Law No. 58 of 1937, as amended by Law No. 5 of 2010, translated by: Middle East Library for Economic Services, 2010.
[7] Dr. Mohamed Al Ghamry, The Death Penalty In Egypt: Theoretical and Practical Study in the Light of Islamic Shariah and International Human Rights Law, p. 15-16, Arab Penal Reform Organization, http://www.aproarab.org/modules.php?name=Reports_Publications, 2008.
[8] Egypt Penal Code, arts. 86, 86(2) cum. 86(2)(B), 86 Bis-(2)(C), 89, 90 Bis(2), 91, 93, 102(B), Law No. 58 of 1937, as amended by Law No. 5 of 2010, translated by: Middle East Library for Economic Services, 2010.
[9] Egypt Penal Code, arts. 83(A) cum. 86-102(2) Bis, Law No. 58 of 1937, as amended by Law No. 5 of 2010, translated by: Middle East Library for Economic Services, 2010.
[10] Dr. Mohamed Al Ghamry, The Death Penalty In Egypt: Theoretical and Practical Study in the Light of Islamic Shariah and International Human Rights Law, pp. 15-16, 17, Arab Penal Reform Organization, http://www.aproarab.org/modules.php?name=Reports_Publications, 2008.
[11] Egypt Penal Code, art. 269, 290, Law No. 58 of 1937, as amended by Law No. 5 of 2010, translated by: Middle East Library for Economic Services, 2010.
[12] Egypt Penal Code, arts. 269, 290, Law No. 58 of 1937, as amended by Law No. 5 of 2010, translated by: Middle East Library for Economic Services, 2010.
[13] Egypt Narcotics Law, art. 40, No. 182 of 1960, amended through 1994.
[14] Egypt Narcotics Law, arts. 33, 34, 34(2), No. 182 of 1960, amended through 1994.
[15] Egypt Narcotics Law, art. 34, No. 182 of 1960, amended through 1994.
[16] Egypt Penal Code, arts. 77-77(C), 78(A)-78(C), 78(E), 80, 81, 82(B), 83(A) cum. 86-102 Bis, 85, 86-102(2), 87 cum. 102(B), 92, Law No. 58 of 1937, as amended by Law No. 5 of 2010, translated by: Middle East Library for Economic Services, 2010.
[17] Egypt Penal Code, arts. 77(B), 80, 85, Law No. 58 of 1937, as amended by Law No. 5 of 2010, translated by: Middle East Library for Economic Services, 2010.
[18] Dr. Mohamed Al Ghamry, Death Penalty In Egypt: Theoretical and Practical Study in the Light of Islamic Shariah and International Human Rights Law, p. 1718 , Arab Penal Reform Organization, (http://www.aproarab.org/modules.php?name=Reports_Publications, 2008.
[19] Egypt Penal Code, art. 295, Law No. 58 of 1937, as amended by Law No. 5 of 2010, translated by: Middle East Library for Economic Services, 2010.
[20] Dr. Mohamed Al Ghamry, Death Penalty In Egypt: Theoretical and Practical Study in the Light of Islamic Shariah and International Human Rights Law, p. 17, Arab Penal Reform Organization, http://www.aproarab.org/modules.php?name=Reports_Publications, 2008.
[21] Egypt Penal Code, art. 17, Law No. 58 of 1937, as amended by Law No. 5 of 2010, translated by: Middle East Library for Economic Services, 2010.
[22] For example, see Egypt Penal Code, arts. 77(D), 88(2)(C), Law No. 58 of 1937, as amended by Law No. 5 of 2010, translated by: Middle East Library for Economic Services, 2010.
[23] Patrick Gallahue & Rick Lines, The Death Penalty for Drug Trafficking: Global Overview 2010, p. 17, Intl. Harm Reduction Assn., 2010; Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 279, Oxford University Press, 4th. ed., 2008.
[24] Egypt Narcotics Law, art. 36, No. 182 of 1960, amended through 1994.
[25] Dr. Mohamed Al Ghamry, Death Penalty In Egypt: Theoretical and Practical Study in the Light of Islamic Shariah and International Human Rights Law, p. 17-18, 23-30, Arab Penal Reform Organization, http://www.aproarab.org/modules.php?name=Reports_Publications, 2008.
[26] International Commission of Jurists, Submission to the Universal Periodic Review of Egypt, http://lib.ohchr.org/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/Session7/EG/ICJ_UPR_EGY_S07_2010_InternationalCommissionofJurists.pdf, Aug. 2009.
[27] Arab Penal Reform Organization, Submission to the Human Rights Council’s 2010 Universal Periodic Review of Egypt, http://lib.ohchr.org/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/Session7/EG/APRO_UPR_EGY_S07_2010_ArabPenalReformOrganization.pdf, 2009.
[28] Amnesty Intl., Egyptian Man Executed Amid Questions Over Murder Conviction, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/egyptian-man-executed-amid-questions-over-murder-conviction-2010-03-12, Mar. 12, 2010.
[29] Dr. Mohamed Al Ghamry, Death Penalty In Egypt: Theoretical and Practical Study in the Light of Islamic Shariah and International Human Rights Law, p. 23-35, Arab Penal Reform Organization, http://www.aproarab.org/modules.php?name=Reports_Publications, 2008.
[30] Arab Penal Reform Organization, Submission to the Human Rights Council’s 2010 Universal Periodic Review of Egypt, http://lib.ohchr.org/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/Session7/EG/APRO_UPR_EGY_S07_2010_ArabPenalReformOrganization.pdf, 2009.
[31] U.N. CRC, Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations: Egypt, paras. 27-28, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.145, Feb. 21, 2001.
[32] Dr. Mohamed Al Ghamry, The Death Penalty In Egypt: Theoretical and Practical Study in the Light of Islamic Shariah and International Human Rights Law, p. 18, 19, Arab Penal Reform Organization, http://www.aproarab.org/modules.php?name=Reports_Publications, 2008.
[33] Dr. Mohamed Al Ghamry, The Death Penalty In Egypt: Theoretical and Practical Study in the Light of Islamic Shariah and International Human Rights Law, p. 18, 19, Arab Penal Reform Organization, http://www.aproarab.org/modules.php?name=Reports_Publications, 2008.
[34] Egypt Penal Code, art. 61, Law No. 58 of 1937, as amended by Law No. 5 of 2010, translated by: Middle East Library for Economic Services, 2010 (Article 61 was substituted per Law No. 71 of 2009, explaining any discrepancy between this exception and recent reports of non-exception).

International Commitments

ICCPR

Party?

Yes. [1]

Date of Accession

Jan. 14, 1982. [2]

Signed?

Yes. [3]

Date of Signature

Aug. 4, 1967. [4]

First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Recognizing Jurisdiction of the Human Rights Committee

Party?

No. [5]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [6]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Toward the Abolition of the Death Penalty

Party?

No. [7]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [8]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

American Convention on Human Rights

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

Death Penalty Protocol to the ACHR

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR)

Party?

Yes. [9]

Date of Accession

Mar. 20, 1984. [10]

Signed?

Yes. [11]

Date of Signature

Nov. 16, 1981. [12]

Protocol to the ACHPR on the Rights of Women in Africa

Party?

No. [13]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [14]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

Party?

Yes. [15]

Date of Accession

May 9, 2001. [16]

Signed?

Yes. [17]

Date of Signature

Yes. [18]

Arab Charter on Human Rights

Party?

No. [19]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

Yes. [20]

Date of Signature

September 5, 2004. [21]

2014 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [22]

Vote

Against. [23]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [24]

2012 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [25]

Vote

Against. [26]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [27]

2010 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [28]

Vote

Against. [29]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [30]

2008 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [31]

Vote

Against. [32]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [33]

2007 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [34]

Vote

Against. [35]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [36]

References

[1] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4?=en , last accessed Jul. 29, 2010.
[2] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4?=en , last accessed Jul. 29, 2010.
[3] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4?=en , last accessed Jul. 29, 2010.
[4] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4?=en , last accessed Jul. 29, 2010.
[5] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4?=en , last accessed Jul. 29, 2010.
[6] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4?=en , last accessed Jul. 29, 2010.
[7] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4?=en , last accessed Jul. 29, 2010.
[8] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4?=en , last accessed Jul. 29, 2010.
[9] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights, Doc. 0002, http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/African_Charter_on_Human_and_Peoples_Rights.pdf, Aug. 2, 2011.
[10] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights, Doc. 0002, http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/African_Charter_on_Human_and_Peoples_Rights.pdf, Aug. 2, 2011.
[11] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights, Doc. 0002, http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/African_Charter_on_Human_and_Peoples_Rights.pdf, Aug. 2, 2011.
[12] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights, Doc. 0002, http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/African_Charter_on_Human_and_Peoples_Rights.pdf, Aug. 2, 2011.
[13] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, Doc. 0025, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/999Rights_of_Women.pdf, Feb. 14, 2011.
[14] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, Doc. 0025, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/999Rights_of_Women.pdf, Feb. 14, 2011.
[15] African Union, Signatories, Accessions, and Ratifications, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Doc. 0003, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/96Welfare_of_the_Child.pdf, Jan. 27, 2011.
[16] African Union, Signatories, Accessions, and Ratifications, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Doc. 0003, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/96Welfare_of_the_Child.pdf, Jan. 27, 2011.
[17] African Union, Signatories, Accessions, and Ratifications, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Doc. 0003, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/96Welfare_of_the_Child.pdf, Jan. 27, 2011.
[18] African Union, Signatories, Accessions, and Ratifications, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Doc. 0003, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/96Welfare_of_the_Child.pdf, Jan. 27, 2011.
[19] Arab League, Statement of Signatures and Ratifications of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, http://www.lasportal.org/wps/wcm/connect/498481804a04776ea1d7bd526698d42c/%D8%AC%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89+%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%AB%D8%A7%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A+%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86.pdf?MOD=AJPERES (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr. 7, 2014.
[20] Arab League, Statement of Signatures and Ratifications of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, http://www.lasportal.org/wps/wcm/connect/498481804a04776ea1d7bd526698d42c/%D8%AC%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89+%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%AB%D8%A7%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A+%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86.pdf?MOD=AJPERES (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr. 7, 2014.
[21] Arab League, Statement of Signatures and Ratifications of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, http://www.lasportal.org/wps/wcm/connect/498481804a04776ea1d7bd526698d42c/%D8%AC%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89+%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%AB%D8%A7%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A+%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86.pdf?MOD=AJPERES (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr. 7, 2014.
[22] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 141, 144, U.N. Doc. A/69/488/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2014.
[23] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, 73rd Plenary Meeting, pp. 17-18, U.N. Doc. A/69/PV.73, Dec. 18, 2014.
[24] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Note Verbale dated 28 July 2015, U.N. Doc. A/69/993, Jul. 29, 2015.
[25] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 95-96, U.N. Doc. A/67/457/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2012.
[26] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, 60th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/67/PV.60, Dec. 20, 2012.
[27] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Note Verbale dated 16 April 2013, U.N. Doc. A/67/841, Apr. 23, 2013.
[28] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, includng alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, p. 5, U.N. Doc. A/65/456/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2010.
[29] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, 71st Plenary Meeting, pp. 18-19, U.N. Doc. A/65/PV.71, Dec. 21, 2010.
[30] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Note Verbale dated 11 March 2011, U.N. Doc. A/65/779, Mar. 11, 2011.
[31] U.N.G.A., 63rd session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, U.N. Doc. A/63/430/Add.2, Dec. 4, 2008.
[32] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008.
[33] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009.
[34] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, U.N. Doc. A/62/439/Add.2, Dec. 5, 2007.
[35] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, 76th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/62/PV.76, Dec. 18, 2007.
[36] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Note Verbale dated 11 January 2008, U.N. Doc. A/62/658, Feb. 2, 2008.

Death Penalty In Law

Does the country’s constitution make reference to capital punishment?

Egypt’s Constitution references neither capital punishment nor the right to life. [1] Egypt’s Constitution provides that the principles of Shari’a law are the “principal source of legislation,” [2] so principles that permit or limit application of the death penalty under Shari’a law may be influential in determining whether a particular application of the death penalty in Egypt violates fundamental rights.

Does the country’s constitution make reference to international law?

It is possible that under Article 151 of the Constitution, treaties ratified by Egypt have concurrent influence with domestic law on human rights protections. [3]

Have there been any significant changes in the application of the death penalty over the last several years?

During the past few years, executions in Egypt have been few, although not rare. [4] These numbers do not reflect the threat to human rights posed by the potentially disproportionate use of death sentences in Egypt.

The Human Rights Committee’s 2002 Concluding Observations, [5] the report to the Human Rights Council by the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism [6] and the 2010 Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review [7] indicate that Egypt has resisted legal restriction of the death penalty to the most serious crimes and, while claiming to support such restriction, somewhat broadened the application of the death penalty for vaguely-defined terrorist offenses not resulting in death. The Special Rapporteur noted that Egypt has improved the appeals process afforded to those tried for terror crimes by its military courts, but also that the Emergency State Security Courts (where any crime can be tried) remained courts of first and only instance. As noted in submissions to the Human Rights Council for its 2009 UPR, under Article 179 of Egypt’s Constitution the President can thus simply assign those accused of terrorism (or any crime) to the emergency courts, rendering improvements in the guarantee of a fair trial a nullity. [8] While Egypt has been in a state of “emergency” since 1981 and a State Security Court has adjudicated for even longer, [9] both the vague language in Egypt’s recently promulgated terrorism laws and the President’s new ability to assign capital trials to an unreviewable court heightens the threat to protections against arbitrariness, unfair trials and inhuman treatment or punishment.

Death sentences pronounced by courts increased from 40 in 2007, to 87 in 2008 and to 269 in 2009. [10] Statistics on death sentences between 1990-2000 indicate that only 530 death sentences were pronounced during that decade, [11] suggesting that 2009 marked an upsurge in death sentences. The Arab Penal Reform Organization submitted statistics for the 2009 UPR that suggest this was due to an increase in the number of death sentences pronounced by courts of ordinary jurisdiction rather than to an increase in transparency or sentences pronounced by courts of arbitrary jurisdiction. [12]

In-country commentators have remarked that “[incidents] of violent crime have increased markedly in recent months and years,” attributed in part to an economic crisis and a corresponding “widespread sense of hopelessness and despair.” Some have rejected courts’ “heavy-handed” attempts at deterrence as “its own kind of mass murder.” Noting government failures to provide “justice and security for all,” not merely for political and economic elites, one commentator opines: “By issuing harsh verdicts such as the death penalty, judicial authorities have begun to practice their own kind of violence against society.” [13]

Is there currently an official moratorium on executions within the country?

No. [14]

Have there been any significant published cases concerning the death penalty in national courts?

The website of the Supreme Constitutional Court, which may be intended to eventually post the decisions of that and other courts, is under development at: http://hccourt.gov.eg/. The Arab Penal Reform Organization, a Cairo-based law firm, may be a useful organization to contact for those interested in access to Egyptian jurisprudence: http://www.aproarab.org/.

Where can one locate or access judicial decisions regarding the death penalty?

The website of the Supreme Constitutional Court, which may be intended to eventually post the decisions of that and other courts, is under development at: http://hccourt.gov.eg/.

What is the clemency process?

Sources indicate that the Mufti* expresses an opinion on whether a death sentence is appropriate; this may influence judicial or executive decision-making. Under Articles 470, 471 and 473 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the Minister of Justice must inform the President of any final sentence of death. The President confirms the sentence or pardons the offender, commutes or reduces the sentence. The President may also permit the sentence to become confirmed by expressing no position within 14 days of receiving the final sentence for consideration. [15] Under Articles 74-76 of the Penal Code, it is possible that for offenses tried in ordinary courts the President may commute a death sentence to life imprisonment, but not to a term of years. [16] The US Department of State indicates that a similar procedure applies for sentences issued by exceptional courts. [17]

*The Mufti is Egypt’s leading cleric, who has the responsibility to issue religious edicts uninfluenced by the secular government. [18] Courts may deviate from his opinions [19] and he may come under criticism by other scholars of Islam. [20] He has access to the prisons and has been involved with some success in the reformation of violent terrorists, success he portrays as important but limited. To the Mufti, literalism in religion is a root of immoderation and terrorism. The Mufti is widely recognized as a champion of moderate Islam. [21] Recently, a serious upsurge in death sentences has required the Mufti to divert more of his attention to their review; [22] we are not aware of the Mufti’s general approach in the current situation.

Are jury trials provided for defendants charged with capital offenses?

The US Department of State reports that jury trials are not used in Egypt. [23]

Brief Description of Appellate Process

Death sentences must be unanimous. Cases may be appealed to the Courts of Appeal, and from there, to the Court of Cassation. A more unusual approach is to apply for reconsideration of the sentence to the Court of Cassation. The Supreme Constitutional Court might be able to hear a petition on a constitutional issue, disputes over jurisdiction, conflicting judgments, or divergence from the accepted implementation of laws. [24] Sources indicate that prior to the judicial confirmation of a death sentence, the Mufti (a government-appointed head cleric) may express a non-binding opinion on whether a death sentence is appropriate. [25]

A 2009 Special Rapporteur report to the Human Rights Council indicates that individuals who are sentenced to death by the Emergency Supreme State Security Courts for terrorism offenses have no recourse to appeal, although those sentenced by military courts may appeal to the Supreme Court for Military Appeals sitting as a court of cassation. [26]

References

[1] Constitution of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Sep. 11, 1971, as amended through Mar. 26, 2007, translation: Arab Republic of Egypt, Shoura Assembly.
[2] Constitution of the Arab Republic of Egypt, art. 2, Sep. 11, 1971, as amended through Mar. 26, 2007.
[3] Constitution of the Arab Republic of Egypt, art 151, Sep. 11, 1971, as amended through Mar. 26, 2007.
[4] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010; Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, p. 8, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009; Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2008.
[5] U.N. ICCPR, Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations: Egypt, paras. 6, 12, 16, U.N. Doc. CCPR/CO/76/EGY, Nov. 28, 2002.
[6] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism: Mission to Egypt, paras. 11, 15, 33, 39, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/13/37/Add.2, Oct. 14, 2009.
[7] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Egypt, paras. 95-96, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/14/17, Mar. 26, 2010.
[8] International Commission of Jurists, Submission to the Universal Periodic Review of Egypt, http://lib.ohchr.org/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/Session7/EG/ICJ_UPR_EGY_S07_2010_InternationalCommissionofJurists.pdf, Aug. 2009.
[9] International Commission of Jurists, Submission to the Universal Periodic Review of Egypt, http://lib.ohchr.org/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/Session7/EG/ICJ_UPR_EGY_S07_2010_InternationalCommissionofJurists.pdf, Aug. 2009.
[10] Arab Penal Reform Organization, Submission to the Human Rights Council’s 2010 Universal Periodic Review of Egypt, http://lib.ohchr.org/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/Session7/EG/APRO_UPR_EGY_S07_2010_ArabPenalReformOrganization.pdf, 2009.
[11] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010; Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, p. 17, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009; Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, p. 7, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2008.
[12] Dr. Mohamed Al Ghamry, The Death Penalty In Egypt: Theoretical and Practical Study in the Light of Islamic Shariah and International Human Rights Law, p. 23-30, Arab Penal Reform Organization, http://www.aproarab.org/modules.php?name=Reports_Publications, 2008.
[13] Arab Penal Reform Organization, Submission to the Human Rights Council’s 2010 Universal Periodic Review of Egypt, http://lib.ohchr.org/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/Session7/EG/APRO_UPR_EGY_S07_2010_ArabPenalReformOrganization.pdf, 2009.
[14] Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa Al-Omrani, Egypt: 230 Death Sentences in Six Months, IPS News, http://ipsnews.net/africa/nota.asp?idnews=47683, Jul. 16, 2009.
[15] Amnesty Intl., Egyptian Man Executed Amid Questions Over Murder Conviction, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/egyptian-man-executed-amid-questions-over-murder-conviction-2010-03-12, Mar. 12, 2010.
[16] Dr. Mohamed Al Ghamry, The Death Penalty In Egypt: Theoretical and Practical Study in the Light of Islamic Shariah and International Human Rights Law, p. 17-18,19, Arab Penal Reform Organization, http://www.aproarab.org/modules.php?name=Reports_Publications, 2008.
[17] Egypt Penal Code, arts. 74-76, Law No. 58 of 1937, as amended by Law No. 5 of 2010, translated by: Middle East Library for Economic Services, 2010.
[18] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Egypt, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136067.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[19] BCC News, Egypt’s Mufti Rejects Criticism, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7094076.stm, Nov. 14, 2007.
[20] Hisham Talaat Moustafa, Egyptian Tycoon, Ex-Cop Face Execution, CNN World, http://articles.cnn.com/2009-06-25/world/egypt.murder_1_death-sentences-hisham-talaat-moustafa-suzanne-tamim?_s=PM:WORLD, Jun. 25, 2009.
[21] Stephanie Winer, Dissident Watch: Mohammed Hegazy, Middle East Quarterly, p. 96, http://www.meforum.org/2631/dissident-watch-mohammed-hegazy, Winter 2010.
[22] Lawrence Wright, The Rebellion Within: An Al Queda Mastermind Questions Terrorism, The New Yorker, http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/06/02/080602fa_fact_wright?currentPage=all, Jun. 2, 2008.
[23] Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa Al-Omrani, Egypt: 230 Death Sentences in Six Months, IPS News, http://ipsnews.net/africa/nota.asp?idnews=47683, Jul. 16, 2009.
[24] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Egypt, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136067.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[25] Dr. Mohamed S. E. Abdel Wahab, Update: An Overview of the Egyptian Legal System and Legal Research, http://www.nyulawglobal.org/Globalex/Egypt1.htm#_6._The_Judicial, Dec. 2008; Dr. Mohamed Al Ghamry, The Death Penalty In Egypt: Theoretical and Practical Study in the Light of Islamic Shariah and International Human Rights Law, p. 17-18,19, Arab Penal Reform Organization, http://www.aproarab.org/modules.php?name=Reports_Publications, 2008.
[26] Hisham Talaat Moustafa, Egyptian Tycoon, Ex-Cop Face Execution, CNN World, http://articles.cnn.com/2009-06-25/world/egypt.murder_1_death-sentences-hisham-talaat-moustafa-suzanne-tamim?_s=PM:WORLD, Jun. 25, 2009.
[27] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism: Mission to Egypt, para. 33, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/13/37/Add.2, Oct. 14, 2009.

Death Penalty In Practice

Where Are Death-Sentenced Prisoners incarcerated?

Reports indicate that Egypt is secretive about when death sentences are confirmed, and we do not know where death-sentenced prisoners are held prior to confirmation of their sentences. When a death sentence is confirmed and execution is impending, a death-sentenced male is transferred to Itsi’naf (and a female may be transferred to a prison in Giza), where executions take place. [1] Egypt maintains high-security prisons, which include at least Tora, Istikbal, and Ala’qrab prisons. Two other high-security prisons, Fayoum and Leman Abu’zaabal, [2] are often closed to the public. We do not know whether death-sentenced prisoners are held predominantly or exclusively at such locations.

Description of Prison Conditions

The U.S. Department of State reports that Egyptian prison conditions in general are poor, with overcrowding, lack of ventilation, inadequate nutrition and clean water, and limited access to medical care leading to serious health problems such as widespread tuberculosis. Guards brutalized prisoners, particularly juveniles held in adult facilities. [3]

Are there any known foreign nationals currently under sentence of death?

Mark Warren reports that many foreign nationals are held under sentence of death in Egypt, primarily for drug trafficking offenses. [4]

What are the nationalities of the known foreign nationals on death row?

While we do not know the nationality of the current foreigners held under sentence of death, in the past Sudanese, Somali, Tanzanian, Bangladeshi and Indian individuals have been executed in Egypt. Foreigners are primarily held under sentence of death for drug trafficking offenses in Egypt, so foreign nationals affected by the drug trade may be more likely to be held under sentence of death in Egypt. [5]

Are there any known women currently under sentence of death?

A woman was recently executed, [6] and at least one other woman was sentenced to death in 2009, [7] so it is likely that women are sentenced to death and held under sentence of death.

Are there any reports of individuals currently under sentence of death who may have been under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed?

By conclusion of our research we did not find any reports indicating that individuals are currently being held under sentence of death for crimes committed while under the age of 18, and the 2001 Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child discusses criminal penalties against children but does not identify the execution of juveniles as an issue. [8]

Comments regarding the racial/ethnic composition on death row

We did not find reports of discriminatory sentencing based on race or ethnicity.

Are there lawyers available for indigent defendants facing capital trials?

Defendants have a right to an attorney at the state’s expense. Reports indicate that some individuals held in high-security facilities were denied this right: some were denied access to an attorney, while others were not afforded an attorney until trial (seriously compromising the attorney’s ability to prepare and offer a competent defense). [9]

Are there lawyers available for indigent prisoners on appeal?

Upon completion of our research we did not determine whether Egypt provides counsel at state expense upon appeal.

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Some defendants do not receive quality legal representation because their attorneys are assigned to them only immediately prior to trial, and lawyers complain that they lack sufficient access to clients tried in military courts. [10]

Other Comments on Criminal Justice System

The judiciary lacks independence from the executive. As noted by the International Commission of Jurists, courts of arbitrary jurisdiction represent a serious threat to the fairness of criminal trials in Egypt. Under Articles 171 and 173 of the Constitution, and corresponding Law No. 105 of 1980 and Law No. 25 of 1966, the President controls the Military and State Security Courts, and under Article 179, during a state of emergency the President can assign the trial of a criminal offense at law to an exceptional court, [11] and appeal from some exceptional courts is not permitted. [12] Because Egypt has been under a state of emergency since 1981 (despite offering no credible explanation of the state of emergency or why the situation faced by Egypt requires the derogation of a defendant’s rights under the ICCPR to non-arbitrariness and a fair trial), [13] there is a threat that those accused of capital crimes can be arbitrarily subjected to the jurisdiction of these sometimes unreviewable courts. Egypt’s government claims that, in practice, exceptional courts are used only in cases involving terrorism, national security or major drug trafficking cases. [14] A report by the US Department of State indicates that security forces use arbitrary detention as a political tool; the executive exerts pressure on the judiciary and in security and political cases sometimes ignores its rulings; and the executive can replace the majority of the exceptional court’s judges with military judges. [15] This undermines the right to a fair trial, particularly for political dissidents who may be treated as terror or security threats. As noted by the International Committee of Jurists, the existence of courts of arbitrary jurisdiction to which the executive can freely divert cases undermines the independence of the judiciary and the right to a fair trial. [16]

References

[1] Amnesty Intl., Egyptian Man Executed Amid Questions Over Murder Conviction, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/egyptian-man-executed-amid-questions-over-murder-conviction-2010-03-12, Mar. 12, 2010.
[2] Note that this report is quite old; it might be possible to find a more recent report from the source’s website at http://en.eohr.org/. Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, Press Release, http://www.derechos.org/human-rights/mena/eohr/death.html, Aug. 15, 1998.
[3] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Egypt, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136067.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[4] Mark Warren, Foreigners Under Sentence of Death Worldwide, http://users.xplornet.com/~mwarren/world.html, May 7, 2010.
[5] Mark Warren, Foreigners Under Sentence of Death Worldwide, http://users.xplornet.com/~mwarren/world.html, May 7, 2010.
[6] Amnesty Intl., Egyptian Man Executed Amid Questions Over Murder Conviction, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/egyptian-man-executed-amid-questions-over-murder-conviction-2010-03-12, Mar. 12, 2010.
[7] U.N.G.A., Arab Penal Reform Organization, Submission to the Human Rights Council in its Universal Periodic Review of Egypt, The Death Penalty in the Normal Judiciary, 2009-2010.
[8] U.N. CRC, Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding Observations: Egypt, paras. 27-28, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.145, Feb. 21, 2001.
[9] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Egypt, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136067.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[10] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Egypt, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136067.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[11] International Commission of Jurists, Submission to the Universal Periodic Review of Egypt, http://lib.ohchr.org/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/Session7/EG/ICJ_UPR_EGY_S07_2010_InternationalCommissionofJurists.pdf, Aug. 2009.
[12] Arab Penal Reform Organization, Submission to the Human Rights Council’s 2010 Universal Periodic Review of Egypt, http://lib.ohchr.org/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/Session7/EG/APRO_UPR_EGY_S07_2010_ArabPenalReformOrganization.pdf, 2009.
[13] International Commission of Jurists, Submission to the Universal Periodic Review of Egypt, http://lib.ohchr.org/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/Session7/EG/ICJ_UPR_EGY_S07_2010_InternationalCommissionofJurists.pdf, Aug. 2009.
[14] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Egypt, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136067.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[15] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Egypt, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136067.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[16] International Commission of Jurists, Submission to the Universal Periodic Review of Egypt, http://lib.ohchr.org/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/Session7/EG/ICJ_UPR_EGY_S07_2010_InternationalCommissionofJurists.pdf, Aug. 2009.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Decisions of Human Rights Committee

In its 2002 concluding observations regarding Egypt’s compliance with the ICCPR, the Human Rights Committee expressed concern over Egypt’s declaration that the principles of Shari’a law are consistent with the ICCPR, requesting that Egypt define or withdraw its declaration. The Committee observed that Egypt retains (or had expanded) the death penalty for a wide range of offenses, including vaguely-defined “terrorism” offenses, many of which violate Article 6 of the Covenant because they do not constitute the most serious offenses. The Committee expressed concern that Egypt had maintained a legal state of emergency since 1981 without explaining why a state of emergency that justified derogation was still ongoing. [1] (Egypt was still under an official state of emergency near the end of 2009.) [2]

Decisions of Other Human Rights Bodies

The Human Rights Council, pursuant to its 2010 Universal Periodic Review of human rights in Egypt, recommended that Egypt restrict application of the death penalty to the most serious crimes; Egypt supported this recommendation. Egypt did not support the Council’s recommendation that it pursue a moratorium on executions, commute all death sentences and abolish the death penalty. [3]

The Council’s Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism reported, pursuant to his 2009 Mission to Egypt, that Egypt’s counter-terrorism laws are in serious violation of international standards regarding the death penalty. Death-eligible crimes are too vaguely defined to be limited to serious acts of violence or terror, and the death penalty may be applied for inchoate crimes such as leadership of an organization that the government defines as aiming to commit such vaguely defined crimes. The Rapporteur’s description of “terrorist” offenses in Egypt amounted, arguably, to a description that would include civil disobedience. The Rapporteur stressed the importance of limiting application of the death penalty to the most serious crimes and expressed concern that death sentences pronounced by the Emergency Supreme State Security Courts (which adjudicate on terrorism offenses) are not subject to appeal. Decisions of military courts adjudicating on terrorism offenses are subject only to cassation. In both cases, the restriction of the right to appeal undermines the right to a fair trial. [4]

References

[1] U.N. ICCPR, Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations: Egypt, paras. 6, 12, 16, U.N. Doc. CCPR/CO/76/EGY, Nov. 28, 2002.
[2] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Summary Prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, in Accordance with Paragraph 15(c) of the Human Rights Council Resolution 5/1: Egypt, para. 2, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/7/EGY/3, Nov. 25, 2009.
[3] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Egypt, paras. 95-97, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/14/17, Mar. 26, 2010.
[4] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism: Mission to Egypt, paras. 11, 15, 33, 39, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/13/37/Add.2, Oct. 14, 2009.

Additional Sources and Contacts

Direct member(s) of World Coalition Against the Death Penalty

None.

Other non-governmental organizations and individuals engaged in advocacy surrounding the death penalty

No Military Trials for Civilians
http://en.nomiltrials.org

Reprieve
PO Box 72054
London EC3P 3BZ
United Kingdom
Tel 020 7553 8140
Fax 020 7553 8189
info@reprieve.org.uk
http://www.reprieve.org.uk

Helpful Reports and Publications

Dr. Mohamed Al Ghamry, The Death Penalty In Egypt: Theoretical and Practical Study in the Light of Islamic Shariah and International Human Rights Law, Arab Penal Reform Organization, http://www.aproarab.org/modules.php?name=Reports_Publications, 2008.

Intl. Federation for Human Rights, The Death Penalty in Egypt, N° 415/2, http://www.fidh.org/IMG/pdf/eg415a.pdf, Apr. 2005.

Additional notes regarding this country

As of early 2011, the Egyptian people were in the process of replacing the long-standing regime. Constitutional amendments were proposed that would terminate the ability of the executive to institute a state of emergency, and terminate the ability of the government to remain in a state of emergency for lengthy periods without holding a popular referendum. As constitutional and legal reforms occur in Egypt, our answers should be updated to reflect whether the government can still interfere with the appellate process and subject individuals to trial in courts of extraordinary jurisdiction.

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