The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by recent court decisions in Egypt, particularly the confirmation of death sentences for 183 people and the sentencing of journalists, including from Al Jazeera today, to lengthy jail terms. Proceedings that clearly appear not to meet basic fair trial standards, particularly those resulting in the imposition of the death penalty, are likely to undermine prospects for long-term stability.
Separately, the Secretary-General notes that the constitutionality of the law regulating protest will be reviewed by the Supreme Constitutional Court. He recalls that both he and the High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concerns that the law could lead to serious breaches of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and needed to be brought in conformity with Egypt’s international human rights obligations.
The Secretary-General stresses that participation in peaceful protests or criticism of the Government should not be grounds for detention or prosecution. He believes Egypt will only be strengthened by empowering all its citizens to fully exercise their rights.