CAIRO (Middle East Eye) – An array of international political and diplomatic figures have called on Egypt to commute a number of death sentences set to be carried out against activists in the country.
In a letter that marked the launch of the International Committee Against the Death Penalty (ICADP), the group denounced the upcoming executions planned for 12 Egyptians as “politically motivated and carried out under the cloud of political oppression and a corrupt and incompetent judiciary.”
Among the signatories to the ICADP letter are former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman, Egyptian politician Ayman Nour and Saudi campaigner Yahya Asiri.
The body, formed on Tuesday, also called for the abolition of the death penalty throughout the Arab world.
On 14 June, Egypt’s highest appeals court upheld the death sentences issued against the 12 opponents of the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, paving the way for their potential execution.
The country’s criminal procedure code gives the president 14 days following the court ruling to pardon the defendants or commute the death sentences.
Those on death row include a number of outspoken political figures who held leading roles in the 2011 uprising against longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak, as well as in the demonstrations against the 2013 coup that deposed Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s former president.
The ICADP referenced the crackdown by Egyptian security forces on the sit-in in Rabaa al-Adawiya on 14 August 2013, which saw at least 800 people killed and has been described by Human Rights Watch as the “worst single-day killing of protesters in modern history”.
“The 12 convicted all saw relatives and friends killed or wounded on that fateful day, making these sentences seem as acts of vengeance carried out by the state against all dissenting voices,” read the statement.