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World Citizens, Opposed to the Death Penalty, Question the Egyptian Government’s Sentencing to Death 528 People in a Mass Trial

In Current Events, Human Rights, International Justice, Middle East & North Africa, Uncategorized, World Law on March 25, 2014 at 5:51 PM

-- AWC-UN Geneva Logo --


In a March 26, 2014 message to the Acting President of Egypt and to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prof. René Wadlow, President of the Association of World Citizens (AWC), stated that the mass trial of Muslim Brotherhood members accused of the murder of a police officer and terrorist acts during the August 2013 protests was an insult to the Spirit of Justice and a violation of the rule of law.

The AWC has repeatedly called upon governments to declare a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty – a penalty that extensive research has shown has little or no impact on the level of violent crime and too often opens the door to judicial errors and injustice.

The speed of the two-day trial during which defense lawyers were not able to develop their arguments is unprecedented and points to the political motivations of the current military-influenced Government.

There is a possibility to appeal the verdict, but the timing and modalities are unclear. There are some 1,200 Muslim Brotherhood supporters awaiting trial, and this trial in the Minya Criminal Count does not indicate a rule of law but rather of revenge and a desire to inspire fear of possible Government action.

The verdict now goes to Egypt’s Grand Mufti, a religious authority, for approval or rejection. It is not clear on what basis religious authorities review and make decisions on what are essentially secular trials. In practice, death sentences in Egypt are often handed down, but few have been carried out in recent years. The aims of the trials and the sentences are political: to show that death is a real possibility if one “steps out of line”.

Such a misuse of the court system undermines trust in the legal order and is in violation of the spirit and provisions of human rights law.

The AWC is devoted to the universal application of human rights law which includes fair trials and the right to adequate defense. Therefore, the AWC calls upon the Government of Egypt to revise this court case by a speedy appeal procedure and to see that the subsequent trials concerning Muslim Brotherhood members or supporters of former President Mohammed Morsi are carried out in conformity with established international norms.

World Citizens Call for the Unconditional Respect of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of Person in Egypt

In Conflict Resolution, Current Events, Democracy, Human Rights, Middle East & North Africa, United Nations, World Law on August 16, 2013 at 1:58 PM

-- AWC-UN Geneva Logo --


Paris & Geneva, August 16, 2013


The Association of World Citizens (AWC) is gravely concerned at the serious human rights violations which have been committed in recent weeks by both the security and armed forces and the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt.

Thus, the AWC welcomes the August 15 Appeal of the United Nations Security Council urging both the Egyptian Government and the Muslim Brotherhood to exercise “maximum restraint” with a view to ending the violence which has spread across the country.  The military-police-security forces confronted the predictable resistance of pro-Morsi forces with a brutal show of force designed to instill fear and submission but gave rise instead to a collective display of resolve-until-death and a readiness for martyrdom.

However, the AWC stresses that more than “maximum restraint” is needed. The majority of Egyptians desire a more representative government based on respect for human rights which will provide the basis for a much-needed economic recovery.

The AWC underlines the need for strong civil society institutions and Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs). Both domestic and international NGOs working for freedom of expression, religious freedom and women’s rights have been under unwarranted pressure.

The AWC has protested the recurrent violent attacks carried out by Muslim Brotherhood supporters against the Coptic Christians of Egypt, a community that has been for two and a half years the target of outrageous sectarian violence, including the August 14-15 burning of some 14 Coptic churches in reprisal attacks to the police violence against pro-Morsi sit-in protesters.

Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly provides that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person ». This right belongs to everyone, not just to people who think as we do. Democracy and the rule of law should never be a one-way flow.

The AWC therefore calls on the Egyptian Government, including the police and armed forces, to ensure at all times full respect for human rights in the maintenance of public order, and on the Muslim Brotherhood party to refrain from any actions that are not strictly related to the right to peaceful demonstration, and unequivocally condemn any such actions committed by its members.

The AWC further urges that immediate, special protection be given to the Coptic Christian community and any other national, religious or other minorities that may find themselves in harm’s way due to the current unrest in Egypt.

Finally, the AWC is concerned with the consequences of the proclamation of the one-month State of Emergency across the country.  Past States-of-Emergency periods have always opened the door to human rights abuses and to military authoritarianism. Therefore, the AWC calls for a speedy return to civilian rule, new democratic elections, and a new constitution which places human rights as a core value.

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