Nine political prisoners executed in Egypt after confessions obtained by torture

The nine political prisoners who were executed on Wednesday 20 February. [Image: Middle East Monitor]

Nine Egyptian prisoners, who were accused of killing the country’s former public prosecutor in 2015, were executed on Wednesday morning amid widespread condemnation from international rights groups.

The nine prisoners were sentenced to death on 25 February 2018 after trials marred by claims of torture.

The prisoners said they were denied the right to present an adequate defence, and that their confessions were obtained under severe torture after being abducted for many months.

Former public prosecutor of Egypt, Hisham Barakat.

The nine men who were executed were from a group of 28 suspects accused of the murder of Hisham Barakat, Egypt’s former public prosecutor. Six of them were sentenced to life imprisonment while the rest were convicted in absentia.

Amnesty International launched an appeal on Tuesday evening calling for “immediately halting any plans to carry out these executions”.

Najia Bounaim, Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director, said: “There is no doubt that those involved in deadly attacks must be prosecuted and held accountable for their actions, but executing prisoners or convicting people based on confessions extracted through torture is not justice.”

At least six men were also executed in Egypt earlier this month after unfair trials.

A sharp rise in executions has taken place in Egypt since “President” Abdel Fattah el-Sisi came to power via a military coup in 2013.

More than 30 have been executed and nearly 600 death sentences were issued in Egypt in the first 11 months of 2018.

The United Nations’ (UN) human rights experts have expressed serious concerns that Egyptian officials are using evidence obtained through torture to sentence prisoners to death in military courts.

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