Muslim Brotherhood-backed party submits legal complaint over Egypt executions

#EgyptTurmoil

The Freedom and Justice Party is appealing to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights over 'flaws' in the judicial process

An Egyptian flag placed next to the flag of the Freedom and Justice Party at the party headquarters in Cairo in 2011 (AFP)
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Wednesday 22 November 2017 13:39 UTC
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Egypt's banned Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) has issued a complaint to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights over the use of the death penalty in Egypt.

The complaint was submitted by the FJP, which is the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, through the London-based law firm ITN Solicitors and the international law specialist Rodney Dixon QC, and refers to 20 people in five separate cases currently facing execution.

In a statement released through ITN Solicitors on Wednesday, the FJP argued that "serious evidential and procedural flaws" took place during the trial of those facing the death penalty, including the obtaining of evidence through torture.

They called on the commission, which operates under the auspices of the African Union, to order the cessation of the execution orders. The commission called for a moratorium on the death penalty among AU member states in 2008.

“All Egyptians are entitled to the protections offered by a fair legal process as guaranteed in the African Charter," said Tayab Ali, a partner at ITN Solicitors, in a statement. "This cannot be more important than when the punishment for guilt is death. In this case, the defendants did not have a trial that can be remotely described as fair."

"Now that the Egyptian courts have finalised the death penalties imposed on these people it is imperative that the African Commission intervenes immediately to ensure that an irreversible mistake is not made”.

Supporters of the FJP and Muslim Brotherhood have faced a severe crackdown since the 2013 military coup which overthrew the government of the FJP-backed President Mohamed Morsi.

The Muslim Brotherhood was branded a "terrorist" organisation in 2013 and the FJP was formally banned in August 2014.

Egyptian police have since arrested thousands of Brotherhood leaders and members, including Morsi.

Hundreds have been sentenced to be executed, although many appeals have been successful.

Last week, an Egyptian court upheld a life sentence passed in 2016 against Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie over deadly clashes following the 2013 coup.

Egypt's court of cassation, whose rulings cannot be appealed, upheld the verdict of life terms against Badie and eight others over clashes in the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya that killed three people.

The court also confirmed three-year jail sentences against 19 defendants and 10-year terms against 29 others.

Additional reporting by Reuters