EU Reiterates Call on Egypt Judiciary to Ensure Right to Fair Trial

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The decision by an Egyptian court to issue a preliminary death sentence to 188 defendants raises concerns said EU spokesperson Catherine Ray in a statement on Wednesday.

“In this context, the EU reiterates its call on the Egyptian judicial authorities to ensure, in line with international standards, the defendants’ rights to a fair and timely trial based on clear charges and proper and independent investigations, as well as the right of access and contact to lawyers and family members, and to respect due process,” the spokesperson said.

He added that the EU also opposes the use of capital punishment and will follow these cases closely.

A criminal court sentenced on Tuesday 188 defendants to death for a violent attack on a police station after last year’s ouster of president Mohamed Morsi that left 11 police personnel and two civilians dead.

The defendants were found guilty of killing officers after storming Kerdasa police station in Giza, following the dispersal of the pro-Morsi Rabaa and Nahda sit-ins in Cairo on 14 August 2013 that left hundreds dead and sparked nationwide unrest.

Out of the 188, 135 were present while the rest were tried in absentia.

Earlier the same day, Human Rights Watch released a statement also slamming the recent death sentences saying it was costing the Egyptian judiciary “whatever reputation for independence it once had.”

The UN had issued an outcome report following Egypt’s Universal Periodic Review last month at its headquarters in Geneva including 300 recommendations.  The recommendations centered around three controversial issues: a law regulating NGOs, capital punishment and restrictions on protesting and freedom of expression.

For its part, Cairo has defended some stricter measures in the name of fighting an ongoing Islamist militancy that has killed hundreds of police and army personnel, as well as citizens. At least 500 security personnel have been killed over the past year.

Source: Ahram Online

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