WASHINGTON, April 29, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The United States is deeply troubled by the continued use of mass trials and sentencing in Egypt, and particularly by today’s death sentence against 683 defendants. Today’s verdict, like the one last month, defies even the most basic standards of international justice. The Egyptian government has the responsibility to ensure that every citizen is afforded due process, including the right to a fair trial in which evidence is clearly presented, and access to an attorney. While judicial independence is a vital part of democracy, this verdict cannot be reconciled with Egypt’s obligations under international human rights law. Egyptian leaders must take a stand against this illogical action and dangerous precedent, recognizing that the repression of peaceful dissent will fuel the instability and radicalization that Egypt says it wishes to prevent.
We urge the Egyptian government to end the use of mass trials, reverse this and previous mass sentences, and ensure that every citizen is afforded due process. Since the January 25 Revolution, the Egyptian people have aspired to be represented by a government that rules justly, respects their dignity, and provides economic opportunities.
The United States supports these aspirations and wants Egypt’s transition to succeed. A fair and transparent criminal justice system free of intimidation and political retribution is an important part of any democracy, and the Egyptian people deserve no less.