Since 2013, when a coup ousted Egypt’s first democratically elected president, 19 judges have issued a total of 1,056 death sentences. These are some of the judges who have issued the execution orders.

Shehata (far right) hears a statement from defendant Mohamed Fahmy during trial of Al-Jazeera Journalists.
Shehata (far right) hears a statement from defendant Mohamed Fahmy during trial of Al-Jazeera Journalists. (AFP)

Egyptian Criminal Courts in Egypt have sentenced hundreds of opponents to death since top army general Abdel Fattah el Sisi toppled Mohammed Morsi, the country’s first democratically elected president in a coup in 2013 and took over a year after. While Sisi defends the country’s judiciary saying that it’s independent, human rights organisations condemn its trials as “grossly unfair”.

In February 20, Egypt executed nine men accused of killing country's prosecutor-general in 2015 after sentencing a total of 28 men to death over the killing. Three of the men who were executed said that they faced enforced disappearance for 25 days, were tortured to confess and were questioned without the presence of attorneys. 

International observers have been accusing the Egyptian government of controlling the judiciary and using it as a tool of repression against its opponents. 

Reports say 19 judges issued 1,056 death sentences over five years, with some among the Egyptian judiciary known for issuing more death sentences than others. The rights groups call the them ‘judges of death’.  

Here are the known ones:

Judge Naji Shehata, the head of the Giza Criminal Court, is the one who reportedly issued a record number of death sentences with 263 cases in total. Also known as 'executioner judge', Shehata has issued 305 life sentences. He often appears in court with his dark sunglasses and pipe. 

His most famous ruling was in 2015, when he ratified a mass death sentence for 183 Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

Two of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders, Muhammad Badi and Mohamed el Beltagy, and the political activist Ahmed Duma, who played an important role in the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak, were executed as a result of his rulings. 

His has also passed sentences on 17 journalists, including three al Jazeera English employees in 2014. 

Shaaban al Shami, the head of the Criminal Court of North Cairo, is another judge who has issued harsh rulings against the opponents with 160 death sentences and 17 lifetime sentences in jail over the course of his career. He is the judge who sentenced the deposed president Morsi to death in 2015 -- a ruling which was overturned in 2016. 

Along with Morsi, he also issued death sentences for the Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, Mohammed Badie, and well-known Islamic scholar Youssef al-Qaradawi.

He received harsh criticisms, especially in 2014, when he sentenced 26 defendants in absentia -- without hearing the defence cases. 

According to media reports, Mohammed Shireen Fahmy has issued at least 56 death sentences. When Morsi’s death sentence was overturned, he sentenced him to life in prison. 

Hassan Farid issued death sentences to the young men who were executed over reportedly forced confessions of killing the prosecutor Hisham Barakat in 2015. He has issued more than 147 death sentences, including to people who were detained during the August 2013 coup, in which thousands of people were killed by the Egyptian Army. 

Source: TRT World