EU slams Egypt over Morsi’s death penalty

European Union denounces Egyptian courts for mass trials and unfair verdicts in Muslim Brotherhood case

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The EU criticized Egyptian courts on Sunday for the death sentence given to the deposed president Mohamed Morsi, and courts’ non-fulfillment of Egypt’s obligations under international law, news agencies reported.

"The court decision to seek the death penalty for former President Mohamed Morsi and more than 100 of his supporters, in connection with a mass jail break in 2011, was taken at the end of a mass trial that was not in line with Egypt's obligations under international law," Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy said in a statement.

An Egyptian court ordered the death penalty for Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, and 105 codefendants on Saturday, and the decision has been sent to the Egypt’s top religious authority the “Grand Mufti” for approval. A referral to the mufti is a step that must be taken within Egypt's court system ahead of handing out a death sentence.

"The Egyptian judicial authorities have the responsibility to ensure, in line with international standards, the defendants' rights to a fair trial and proper and independent investigations," the statement added.

Mogherini's criticism of the decision came after a statement today made by the United Kingdom's minister for the Middle East and North Africa, who voiced his government's "deep concern" over the verdict and sentence.

UK Minister Tobias Ellwood's warned Egypt to "apply the rule of law consistently in line with international standards, and to protect the political and legal rights of all Egyptians as the basis for the country's future stability,” in a statement.

Among the several critics of Saturday's court decision there is Egypt’s pro-Morsi Anti-Coup Alliance, the Palestinian Hamas movement, international watchdog Amnesty International, Turkey, the UN and the United States.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern about death sentences sought against Egypt's first democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi and more than 100 others on Saturday.

Ban urged Egyptian authorities to avoid steps that could undermine peace, stability and the rule of law in the region, his office told Anadolu Agency in a statement.

"He reaffirms the United Nations' position against capital punishment," the statement added.

"The Secretary-General understands that the verdict is still subject to an appeal. He will continue to monitor the process very closely," the UN statement said.

Egyptian authorities have accused Morsi and 130 other Muslim Brotherhood members of taking part in a mass jailbreak during Egypt’s 2011 revolution which ousted President Hosni Mubarak, who had ruled Egypt for 30 years. 

In the long awaited verdict for Mohamed Morsi’s second and third charges, the deposed Egyptian president received the death penalty on Saturday along with 106 others for breaking out of prison in 2011.

The cases, like any capital sentence, will be referred to Egypt's top religious authority, the Grand Mufti, for an opinion before any executions can take place. The last trial will be June 2, after the Grand Mufti has the last word.

Death sentence recipients include Islamic scholar Yusuf Qaradawi, who currently resides in Qatar. 

Sixteen others received the death penalty after being convicted on charges of espionage for the Palestinian group Hamas.

Human Rights Watch released a report on Sunday determining that the court which tried Mohamed Morsi and the verdict it reached were “badly flawed.”

TRTWorld and agencies