Thursday, May 28, 2015

Call for moratorium on carrying out death sentences in Egypt

NCHR visits El-Qanater prison
George Ishaq
George Ishaq, a member of the semi-official Egyptian human rights body ''the National Council for Human Rights'' (NCHR) said Tuesday he is for a three year moratorium on carrying out executions to help ease tensions in the country. Ishaq is a long time opposition activist, who also opposed the government of the deposed president Moahmmed Morsi. His remarks came days after the NCHR's deputy head, Abdel-Ghaffar Shukr, formulated a similar proposition citing the same reasons. Hundreds of Islamists have been sentenced to death over murder and terrorism charges in mass trials that have drawn condemnation by western governments and rights watchdogs. In its annual report issued in April, the London-based Amnesty International said Egypt and Nigeria make up well over a third of the world's total death sentences in 2014, with over 1,000 death sentences recorded in both states last year.
The report noted that Egypt carried out 15 confirmed executions during 2014. This week's call has stirred criticism by some who claimed it would spark more violence. An individual has filed a report demanding the dissolution of the council, and accusing it of "working for the benefit of terrorists," a judicial source said. Ishaq said: “We are suggesting a deferment not cancellation [of the penalty]... [we are] calling for easing tensions. Some trials need deliberation...defendants might not be convicted in the end," Ishaq added, stressing that those indicted in murder should receive punishment.

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