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Egypt executes 57 in two months in ‘horrifying execution spree’

December 2, 2020 at 10:38 am

A partial view of the Tora prison in the Egyptian capital Cairo on 11 February 2020 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]

Egypt executed at least 57 people in October and November, Amnesty International has said, almost double the number of executions carried out in the whole of 2019.

Amnesty referred to it as a “horrifying execution spree”, and highlighted the case of 15 political prisoners who were hanged in October.

Of these 15, 13 were on H1 block of Scorpion Prison, where at the end of September four inmates and three police officers died in a contested event that official authorities claimed was a botched prison break.

We Record told MEMO at the time that some of the prisoners hit an employee of Tora Prison with metal tools before he managed to escape.

The detainees closed the door of the prison cell and were killed shortly afterward. We Record called on the public prosecutor to open an investigation into the incident and publish surveillance footage of what happened.

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 The detainees who were hanged are thought to have witnessed what happened.

Sisi's Prisons - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Egypt Sisi’s Prisons – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The rights watchdog says that 57 is likely to be an underestimate as solid statistics are hard to find due to lack of transparency and the fact that authorities do not always inform families or prisoners’ lawyers before executions take place.

Pro-state media say that 31 people, including three women, were also executed in these two months.

In November, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) published a report on the rise in executions in Egypt before three of their senior staff members were imprisoned as a punitive measure against their human rights work.

Prisoners in Egypt are often tried in mass trials and are then tortured to obtain confessions, which are then used as evidence.

Amnesty says it is unclear how many prisoners are at risk of execution. A monk convicted of killing a bishop in 2018, Father Isaiah, is one prisoner who has exhausted all appeals after being tortured for a ‘confession’ following an unfair trial.