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Death penalty rampant in Egypt as 'political vengeance'

On July 17th and 18th, 2021, a truck ad drove through Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia displaying the faces of 12 political prisoners in Egypt that are facing the death penalty [The Freedom Initiative/Flickr]
On July 17th and 18th, 2021, a truck ad drove through Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia displaying the faces of 12 political prisoners in Egypt that are facing the death penalty [The Freedom Initiative/Flickr]

The death penalty has become rampant in Egypt, reports Madr Masr, with executions in 2020 tripling to over 130.

In just one month, October of that year, 53 people were executed, more than the number of people executed each of the previous three years.

The number of executions in the last decade amount to almost half the number issued in the past century.

Egypt is one of the top executioners worldwide.

For months rights advocates have warned of Egypt's escalating death penalty crisis with Amnesty International describing it as a "horrifying execution spree" with hangings up by 300 per cent.

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) has said that under the Mubarak regime there was a "practical suspension" of the death penalty.

Under current President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi however, the judiciary has handed down the death penalty en masse, which Madr Masr has said is "political vengeance".

READ: Egypt sentenced man to death for murdering minor

There has also been a rise in the number of death sentences issued to prisoners convicted in criminal offences.

The alarming rise in executions in Egypt has been able to take place due to the establishment of terrorism circuit courts in 2013 which stipulated that the punishment for terror crimes be expanded from life imprisonment to the death penalty.

The anti-terrorism law, approved by Al-Sisi, uses vague language to define terrorism, including anything that affects the security of society.

In Egypt, there are currently 100 crimes that are punishable by the death penalty.

By law families have the right to see their loved ones the day before they are executed, but many do not receive any notice.

In 2020 Father Isaiah was executed without warning following a confession for which he was tortured. His family were given no warning the execution was going ahead, they only knew after authorities called his brother and asked him to go and collect the body.

Since mid-August last year there have been no hangings reported in Egypt, a significant decrease which could be down to curbing the practice or tighter control over the media to attempt to limit international criticism, according to the EIPR.

READ: Ex-Egypt lawmaker calls for releasing pretrial detainees 

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