Mass trials in Egypt "clearly breach" international human rights law

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Human rights

For the second time in two months, a court in Egypt on Monday issued death sentences to 683 individuals after what the UN human rights office called "hasty" trials.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed her shock and outrage over the sentences that she said "clearly breached international human rights law".

Ravina Shamdasani is Ms Pillay's Spokesperson.

"In defiance of worldwide pleas for Egypt to respect its human rights obligations after 529 people were sentenced to death in March by the same court, hundreds now face a similar fate at the hands of a judicial system where international fair trial guarantees appear to be increasingly trampled upon. The High Commissioner believes that it is high time that Egypt takes its human rights commitments seriously and she notes that in particular, Egypt has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights." (28″)

According to the information received by the human rights office, the 683 defendants were charged with killing a policeman and breaking into the Edwa police station in Al-Minya in August 2013, among other charges.

As in the previous cases, the UN said the exact charges against each defendant were not clear, as they were not individually read out in court.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration:  1’18″

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