ERC's open letter to UN Secretary General, UN Missions, and UK parliamentarians
|Tuesday, October 13,2015 11:12|
It is with a profound sense of dismay and urgency that the Egyptian Revolutionary Council1 writes to you with regards to the execution verdicts that have been passed against political leaders and dissidents in Egypt. To date, over 1000 death penalties have been passed in ‘minute’ trials, and in the past few months, 7 of these have been executed. We are on the verge of witnessing more of these verdicts being carried out; verdicts which, according to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have been passed in the total absence of a fair trial and lacking due process.
The executions have to be placed in their context as part of the extreme repressive measures meted out by the regime against all political opponents, and specifically targeting the Muslim Brotherhood group. The current regime, which came to power as a result of a coup against an elected government, has been responsible for extra-judicial killings, imprisonment of over 40,000 political dissidents – including elected parliamentarians, forced disappearances, torture and rape – and what has been described by HRW2 as the worst massacre in the world’s modern history. Human rights violations committed by the current regime over the last two years continue unabated with no accountability or investigations by governments or international organisations.
The consequence of this lack of international accountability is that the regime of Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi believes it can get away with even more violations and politically incited executions in order to instill fear in the Egyptian people and stifle any opposition to the current dictatorship. The lack of action by the UN and the international community, or even censure from them, sends a clear message to the military regime that it can carry out executions, and maintain its repression, while its diplomatic and economic interests remain unaffected.
It also sends a clear message to the people of Egypt and the people of the region that General El-Sisi is being supported at the expense of any consideration for human rights or justice and that the values and principles that democracies and international institutions uphold regarding executions will not be upheld or acted upon in the case of the Egyptian people.
More worryingly, it is likely that the executions, if not halted, could be the final trigger point for the justification of many to resort to violence. Given the presence of ISIL in the region, increasing violent extremism in the Egyptian context will be uncontrollable. It is perfectly clear to any knowledgeable analyst of the region that the execution of any leadership figure or political dissidents will result in an extreme sense of injustice and anger among those who have struggled for their freedom and rights only to see their compatriots and leaders executed.
Governments, parliamentarians, international organizations and human rights organisations are obliged to act now before the upcoming court case, that is on the 15th of October, and which is expected to result in a final ruling that confirms the death penalties. Direct pressure has to be put on the Egyptian regime to put an immediate halt to the execution of political dissidents and politically motivated trials. Failure to do so will lead to the collapse of any possible credibility among the population of the region for those governments and international organisations who failed to uphold their own values in this context.
The Egyptian people will not accept the Sisi dictatorship or the tyranny it is inflicting through executions. Present and future generations will register and remember who stood up for humanity and decency and who, for whatever reason, remained silent and did not act to stop the execution of the innocent.
Dr Maha Azzam,
Head | Egyptian Revolutionary Council.