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Amnesty condemns 'disgraceful execution of unfairly convicted' Egyptian prisoners

18:54 21 February 2019 Author :  

Amnesty International has condemned the disgraceful execution on Wednesday of nine Egyptian prisoners who rights groups say were unfairly convicted.

"By carrying out the executions of these nine men today Egypt has demonstrated an absolute disregard for the right to life," said Najia Nounaim, Amnesty International's North Africa Campaigns Director

Egypt hanged the nine men in the early hours of Wednesday morning, despite urgent appeals and protests condemning the way they were convicted of assassinating a public prosecutor in 2015.

The execution was confirmed by the Egyptian regime's Prison Authority in a statement carried by Egyptian press on Wednesday.

"Those responsible for the attack that killed Egypt's former public prosecutor deserve to be punished but executing men who were convicted in trials marred by torture allegations is not justice but a testament to the magnitude of injustice in the country," Bounaim said.

Amnesty International had earlier called on Tuesday for Egyptian authorities to immediately halt the planned executions.

"Time is running out to save the lives of these nine men. The Egyptian authorities have an opportunity to do the right thing by immediately halting any plans to carry out these executions," said Bounaim.

The nine men were among 28 men convincted and sentenced to death for the killing of Public Prosecutor Hisham Barakat in a car bomb explosion in 2015.

Amnesty International called their trial "unfair", citing the defendants who said their confessions were extracted through torture.

At least six men were executed earlier this month in Egypt after unfair trials, bringing the total number of death sentences implemented in the past three weeks to 15.

"These executions are a stark demonstration of the government’s increasing use of the death penalty," Bounaim said.

"The international community must not stay silent over this surge in executions. Egypt’s allies must take a clear stand by publicly condemning the authorities’ use of the death penalty, the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment".

Among the 28 men convicted for the 2015 attack, 13 have been convicted in absentia. One of these men was forcibly returned to Egypt from Turkey in January.

Mohammed Abdel Hafiz, who hoped to seek refuge in Turkey, was forced onto a place to Cairo on 18 January after he landed at Istanbul's Ataturk airport.

Turkey, which has given shelter to hundreds of Egyptian dissidents, has since opened an investigation into the circumstances of the deportation.

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