EGYPT. FEAR OF IMMINENT EXECUTION FOLLOWING UNFAIR TRIAL
|President Muhammad Hosni Mubarak has the power to grant a pardon or commute a sentence
May 8, 2006: Brothers Ezzat and Hamdi Ali Hanafi have been sentenced to death after an unfair trial and could be executed at any time, Amnesty International said. The two were sentenced to death on 25 September 2005 by the (Emergency) Supreme State Security Court (SSSC), whose procedures fall far short of international fair trial standards. They had been arrested in March 2004 and convicted of using an area of land belonging to the state to grow unspecified "drugs"; when the security forces raided the property, they allegedly offered armed resistance, and took hostages to use as human
The brothers are the first defendants sentenced to death by the SSSC since 1998, according to the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights. Under the Emergency Law, which has been in force in Egypt since 1981, they had no right to appeal against this verdict and could only lodge a petition to quash or reduce the sentence. On 2 May the Deputy Military Governor of Egypt rejected this petition. Under the state of emergency, the Deputy Military Governor is equivalent to President Mubarak's deputy.
Had they been tried before an ordinary criminal court, both defendants would have had the chance to appeal to the Court of Cassation on grounds of procedural irregularity. On a number of occasions the Court of Cassation has ordered retrials for people sentenced to death by courts of first instance. (Sources: Amnesty International, 08/05/2006)