Egypt’s human rights violation record has reached all time high. The country is executing detainees at a breakneck pace, with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi giving a nod to the rising death sentences in 2019.
At the recent Arab-EU summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Sisi rebuked his criticizers, including European leaders, saying that executing detainees is part of “our humanity”, unlike “your (European) humanity”.
Sisi’s justification seemed far from reality, as it tucked away the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Egypt. Under his leadership, the number of death penalties has increased, as thousands of people have been sentenced to death since 2013.
This scenario is contrary to the past practices beheld under erstwhile President Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade long dictatorship, of terminating some death sentences, and even under ex President Anwar Sadat whose assassins were pardoned.
Just like its neighboring nations, Egypt’s crackdown on alleged offenders must be subjected to international scrutiny, but Sisi’s government prevents any free dialogue regarding the death penalty. There are also records of government shutting down organisations that highlight Egypt’s human rights abuses.
In 2014, after Sisi’s inauguration in the office as president, Egypt rapidly made to the list of countries with the highest number of yearly executions, along with other infamous defaulters like China, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
And since then, criminal and military courts have ordered over 2,500 death sentences, with majority of cases filed for alleged political violence.
Juxtaposing Sisi’s rule with his predecessors, an international rights group found that Egypt’s criminal courts had ordered only 530 death penalties between 1991 and 2000, which was also an era of political unrest in the country.
Currently, there are at least 50 people can be executed at any moment, as their death penalties are confirmed by military or civilian appeals courts.
The Egyptian court trials are immensely flawed, with one judge ordering the execution of more than 500 people in one case, and the other ordering a 4-year-old to life imprisonment, which was later stated a “mistake”.