United Nations human rights experts have condemned Egypt's execution of Wael Mikhil (Father Isaiah), a Coptic Christian monk, on 9 May, 2021. Mikhil was convicted of murder based on an alleged forced confession.
In a press release published by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the experts confirmed that Mikhil was reportedly arbitrarily detained, tried, convicted and sentenced to death on 22 April, 2019, for allegedly killing an abbot at a monastery.
"The execution was conducted in secrecy, which is a serious violation of the inherent dignity of the human person and, specifically, violates the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment," the experts expressed.
According to the experts, Mikhil was subjected to discriminatory treatment in prison prior to his execution. He was prevented from practicing religious rituals, prohibited from attending the weekly mass service and meeting the priest in charge of the prison service, despite this right being guaranteed by the Egyptian Constitution and law.
"The death penalty in retentionist states should be reserved for the most serious crimes and should be imposed only with extreme exception. However, the prevalence with which the death penalty is being executed in Egypt does not demonstrate that it meets the most stringent requirements or moving towards its abolition," the experts stressed.
According to information received by the experts, over 50 executions have already taken place this year: 17 people were executed in April, 30 in March, six in February and one in January.
The UN experts called on the Egyptian authorities to end their systematic use of the death penalty, including against religious minorities.