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83 Egyptians could be executed at any time

People take part in a demonstration against death penalties in Egypt in front of the Egyptian consulate in Istanbul on 2 march 2019 following the recent execution of nine men. [OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images]
People take part in a demonstration against death penalties in Egypt in front of the Egyptian consulate in Istanbul on 2 march 2019 following the recent execution of nine men. [OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images]

On Saturday the sentence of Ahmed Saddouma, who was 17 when he was arrested and accused of terror offences and the attempted murder of a federal judge, was reduced from the death sentence to 15 years in prison.

However, the Egyptian Supreme Court upheld the penalty for Bakr Abo Gabal, 37, who was being tried in the same case.

Gabal is being held in Wadi Natroun prison near Alexandria where his health has deteriorated and his pleas for medical intervention ignored.

The ruling brings the number of Egyptians who have exhausted all litigation and could be executed at any time, to 83.

Egypt has come under renewed criticism for its far-reaching use of the death penalty, which has been labelled an "unprecedented crisis" by Human Rights Watch's Amr Magdi.

READ: Egypt family face 'severe breakdown' at son's impending execution

According to Reprieve, 144 executions have taken place under the Sisi regime and preliminary death sentences issued to more than 2,400 people. Ten of these have been children.

This makes Egypt among the top ten countries with the highest number of annual executions, alongside Iran and Saudi Arabia.

In February President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi responded to calls by European countries to end the death sentence by saying, "you will not teach us our humanity".

"Here, in our countries, in our Arab region, when someone is killed in a terrorist act, the families come to tell me we want a [retaliation] for our sons and their blood, and this is the culture that exists … in this region."

There are numerous reports the Egyptian government not only cast any opponent of the government as terrorists, but use it as a pretext to carry out severe human rights abuses.

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