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Amnesty calls for retrial of 6 Egyptians after use of 'torture-tainted evidence'

Amnesty International has called on the Egyptian government to retry six civilians sentenced to death in an "unfair trial" by a militarily court.

The imprisoned Egyptians were subjected to enforced disappearances for over six weeks before being convicted of belonging to a banned group and possessing firearms and explosives.

The families of the defendants were only made aware of their whereabouts when the defence ministry televised an announcement of the arrest of the "most dangerous terrorist cell" in Egypt, according to Amnesty.

The video footage also showed the defendants "confessing" to belonging to banned groups and attacking military institutions. These confessions are believed to have been extracted under torture.

"Sentencing to death men who were tortured into 'confessions' is an egregious injustice, even by the degraded standards of Egypt's justice system," said Magdalena Mughrabi-Talhami, Amnesty International's regional deputy programme director for the Middle East and North Africa.

According to the Amnesty report, the defendants' lawyers slammed the court for ignoring the men's complaints of torture which included burns and bruises on their bodies and hand injuries and the lack of investigation by forensic officials.

"They must receive a fair trial before an ordinary civilian court that meets international standards and excludes torture-tainted evidence, without the recourse to the death penalty," Mughrabi-Talhami explained.

Amnesty also called on the Egyptian government to "open an effective, independent and impartial investigation into the allegations of enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment."

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