Egypt’s Judges Club, an informal association whose current leadership is known for its support of Sisi’s regime, criticised the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for its statements condemning the recent executions of nine death row inmates in Egypt.
The Judges Club’s spokesperson Reda Mahmoud Al-Sayed said that the association “followed with much sorry” the OHCHR statements on the sentences handed down after the 2015 killing of Egypt’s Prosecutor-General.
The statements constitute an “unacceptable intervention in the work of the esteemed and independent Egyptian judiciary,” Sayed said.
The Judges Club also described the OHCHR’s statements as an attack on the Egyptian state’s sovereignty and a breach of international measures and treaties that seek to preserve the judiciary’s independence.
“The Judges Club stresses on the independence of the Egyptian judiciary and its rejection, throughout its history, of any intervention from any internal of a foreign entity.”
It also noted that Egyptian laws include the death penalty and allow for it to be issued in cases that relate to the most serious crimes.
In its statement, the club defended the recent hangings, noting that the Egyptian legal system guarantees for defendants fair trial before a just an independent judiciary, in addition to the right to appeal sentences in higher courts up to the Court of Cassation.
Last Friday OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville criticised the death sentences handed down and carried out in Egypt against defendants in the prosecutor general’s assassination case.
“They are all killings for which the death penalty is permissible under international law although we urge, as you know, our common position at the UN is to advocate the abolition of the death penalty. But the issue here is a fair trial, use of torture, forced confessions and so on,” he said.
The execution of nine Egyptians on Wednesday over their alleged involvement in killing the country’s top prosecutor in 2015 has sparked a major outcry in Egypt and internationally. Videos of the trial went viral on social media featuring the defendants telling the judge that they were innocent and that they confessed to the crime under torture. The judge ignored the defendants’ plea and sentenced nine of them to death.