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Cairo, 9th September 2012

                                           Press Release                                           

 Report on the Death Penalty in Egypt

Reduction of the provisions of the Death Penalty issued by the natural justice in Egypt

For the years (2009-2010-2011)

The Arab center for the independence of judiciary and legal Profession (ACIJLP) issued a report on the sentences of the Death Penalty for the years (2009-2010-2011) issued by the natural justice in Egypt.

The report dealt with sentences issued regarding the death penalty in cases related to crimes of murder, kidnapping, rape, robbery associated with murder and drug offenses which is within the range of many of the crimes in which Egyptian laws sentence the perpetrators to death.

The report addresses in its sections guarantees of the death penalty in legislation and international conventions, Egyptian legislator's approach on the death penalty, guarantees of the death penalty in Egyptian legislation, assessment of guarantees of the death penalty in Egypt and statistical study on the application of the death penalty in Egypt for years (2009-2010-2011). The report concluded many of the outcomes and recommendations.

The statistical study of the judgments issued by natural justice in the years covered by the report has indicated many results, the most important of these results are:

     The judgments continued the decrease from 2009 to 2011. Numbers of judgments rendered from the criminal courts in 2009, has reached 136, in 2010 judgments decreased to 134 and in 2011 the judgments decreased to 115. The rate of decreasing is low but it deemed to be a positive indicator for the decrease of death penalty judgment rates.

The report stated that:

·        The figures mentioned in the study are for judgments rendered before submitting the appeal to the Court of Cassation. This figure is expected to fall by half or more before the Court of Cassation, which accepts the appeal on judgments of the death penalty easily, and the judgments of the Court of Cassation is often to overturn and to re-consider the case again.

·        Extravagant legislation of death penalty is the outcome of previous regime philosophy to control the security situation as political organizations crimes and other relevant to drugs and weapons. The Egyptian legislation has over-prescribed the death penalty in many Egyptian legislation as the Penal Code, the Martial Law, Drugs Law and the Arms and Ammunition Act. The Egyptian legislation over-prescribing the death penalty to the extent we can say that it's a misuse of right to prescribing the punishment and its disrespect and underestimating of human life.

·        The Egyptian Judicial System, which is hearing the lawsuits of death penalty, is not following the legislation amplification regarding the death penalty. The judicial system tends to verify accuracy on hearing the lawsuits and crimes in which the death penalty is prescribed for. Rate of death penalty judgment is a great evidence for the non-amplification of judicial system since 2011 have seen January Revolution and its consequences of security disturbance and that was not affecting the rate of judgments.

·        The Egyptian legislator has breached the constitutional principles in prescribing the death penalty since we can notice disproportionality between most of crimes and punishments. The attitude of the Egyptian legislation is deemed a waste of principle of crimes and punishment legality since the legislation prescribed the death penalty for crimes which is having many sides , not only one side. Eg: article 130 of Martial Law which is prescribing the death penalty for 12 criminal conducts.

The report found that the decline in death sentences issued by the natural justice in Egypt, become as follows:

·         In 2010, the sentences to death in the murder increased by 3.96% of the year 2009 where the number of sentences in the year 2009 is 101 judgments and in 2010 increased to 105 judgments.

·         In 2011, the sentences to death in the murder declined by 5.71% of the year 2010 where the number of sentences in the year 2010 is 105 judgments declined to 99 judgments.

·        In 2010, the sentences to death in the crime of kidnapping and rape declined by 12.5% from the year 2009 the number of sentences in the year 2009 is 8 judgments declined to 7 judgments.

·        In 2010, the sentences to death in the crime of kidnapping and rape declined by 57, 14% from the year 2010 and the number of judgments in the year 2010 are 7 judgments declined to 3 judgments.

·        In 2010, the sentences to death in the crime of robbery associated with murder declined by 15% from the year 2009 and the number of sentences in the year 2009 is 20 judgments declined to 7 judgments.

·        In 2011, the sentences to death in the crime of robbery associated with murder declined by 23, 53% from the year 2010 and the number of sentences in the year 2010 are 17 judgments declined to 13 judgments.

·        In 2010, the sentences to death in the crime of drugs declined by 28, 5% from the year 2009 and the number of sentences in the year 2009 are 7 judgments declined to 5 judgments.

·        In 2011, the sentences to death in the crime of drugs declined by 100% from the year 2010 and the number of sentences in the year 2010 are 5 judgments declined and Year 2011 did not witness any judgment.

The report concluded a number of recommendations including:

1. Egyptian penal legislation Should be reviewed, and bring it into line with international principles and standards related to human rights and protection of the right to life, and the ratification by Egypt on covenants and pledges should have an immediate impact to amend or abolish national legislation inconsistent with these covenants.

2. The constitution should include an article for protection the right to life and prescribe the international principles and standards related to the right to life.

3. Immediate moratorium of the death penalty and the abolition of their application in the Egyptian penal legislation, suspension of the application of the judgments already issued and have not implemented, and replacing such judgments with alternative penalties consistent with the philosophy of the penalty, trends of the international community, international covenants and national legislation.

4. Application of death penalty should be exclusive to grave crimes -as a primary step to abolition of application- and defining the grave crimes should be based on definitions of international covenants for those crimes, specially the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

5. Calling Egypt to ratify and join the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty

6. Work on the immediate abolition of the death penalty for political crimes or economic crimes and replace death penalty in these crimes with penalties of deprivation of liberty which allows the possibility of achieving the purposes of criminal justice, either through compensation for victims or through reform offenders and restore social balance.

7. Appeal media organizations, and civil society institutions to undertake its role towards Raising community consciousness to the importance and sanctity of the right to life and facing all forms of traditions and customs that violate this right such as revenge or those that are based on religious discrimination or racial or on the basis of the adoption of violence as a means to face violence and murder, as one of the most important means of reducing the offenses punished by the death penalty.

8. Appeal Egyptian authorities concerned to take the necessary measures related to providing and activating guarantees and standards of a fair and square trial, particularly the efficient and effective right to defend in criminal cases, and the allocation and the adoption of qualified lawyers to take over the defense in criminal cases, particularly crimes that are the death penalty is prescribed for, to the accused who is committing this crime.

9. Activation of the individual's right to appear before the natural judge, and the prohibition of referral of civilians to military courts or extraordinary courts, and the exclusion of the military courts to military personnel and in crimes of nature-related to military systems.

10. Prescribing the right to silence for the accused in the crimes punishable by death, the activation of the right to efficient and effective counsel at all stages of the criminal proceedings beginning from stage of arrest of the accused to the stage of investigation and the end of the trial stage, and the activation of the right to sue on two degrees, particularly in the crimes punishable by death penalty.

- Report on the Death Penalty in Egypt