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Procedure : 2018/2561(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0114/2018

Texts tabled :

B8-0114/2018

Debates :

PV 08/02/2018 - 8.2
CRE 08/02/2018 - 8.2

Votes :

PV 08/02/2018 - 12.2

Texts adopted :


MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 356kWORD 54k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0109/2018
6.2.2018
PE614.423v01-00
 
B8-0114/2018

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law

pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure


on executions in Egypt (2018/2561(RSP))


Marietje Schaake, Nedzhmi Ali, Petras Auštrevičius, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Dita Charanzová, Gérard Deprez, Martina Dlabajová, Nathalie Griesbeck on behalf of the ALDE Group
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.

European Parliament resolution on executions in Egypt (2018/2561(RSP))  
B8‑0114/2018

The European Parliament,

-having regard to its previous resolutions on Egypt in particular the ones on 9 March 2016, 15 December 2015 and 15 January 2015,

 

-having regard to its previous resolutions on executions in Bahrain and Kuwait from 16 February 2017 and on the death penalty from 8 October 2015;

 

-having regard to the EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty, on Torture, on Freedom of Expression and on Human Rights Defenders;

 

-having regard to the EU-Egypt Partnership Priorities 2017-2020, adopted on 25 July 2017;

 

-having regard to the joint declaration by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Jacques Camille Paris on the European and World Day against the Death Penalty from 10th October 2017;

 

-having regard to the joint statement by UN experts including Mr. Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, urging Egyptian authorities to halt imminent executions from 26 January 2018;

 

-having regard to the new EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights, which aims to place the protection and surveillance of human rights at the heart of all EU policies;

 

-having regard to Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights and to Protocols 6 and 13 thereto;

 

-having regard to the 6 UN General Assembly resolutions voted in favour of adopting a moratorium on the death penalty;

 

-having regard to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Arab Charter on Human Rights, ratified by Egypt;

 

-having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), in particular Article 18 and the second optional protocol on the death penalty and Article 14, to which Egypt is party;

 

-having regard to the recommendation issued by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) to President Abdelfattah El-Sisi to immediately suspend the death sentences in 5 different cases on 29 November 2017;

 

-having regard to Rule 135 of its Rules of Procedure;

 

 

A.whereas reportedly Egyptian courts handed down 186 death sentences and 16 people were executed in the year of 2017; whereas in recent weeks, there has been an alarming increase and from the end of December 2017 onwards, 23 Egyptians were executed, of which 22 were civilians sentenced in military courts; whereas 26 other Egyptians are in danger of imminent execution, having exhausted all appeals processes and had their execution verdicts upheld;

 

B.whereas the dramatic rise in executions constitutes an unprecedented acceleration in executions during the presidency of Abdelfattah al-Sisi, in an alarming shift from Egyptian judiciary tradition, which used capital punishment with a relative degree of caution;

 

C.whereas the universal abolition of the death penalty is one of the key priorities of the EU’s human rights external policy, with the EU holding a strong and principled position against the death penalty in all circumstances and for all cases;

 

D.whereas many of the testimonies and confessions used in these military trials were gained after the accused were reportedly forcefully disappeared and tortured or ill-treated; whereas many of those detained were unable to access lawyers and lawyers were not present during interrogations; whereas lawyers were not given time to present an appeal before the defense minister signed off on executions; whereas the families of many of the executed were not notified; whereas these trials have lacked the most basic requirements of due process and cannot be considered fair and independent;

 

E.whereas serious security challenges exist within Egypt, particularly in the Sinai, where terrorist groups have staged attacks on security forces; whereas a number of devastating terrorist attacks have occurred within Egypt, including the recent attack on a Sufi mosque that killed 305 civilians and injured at least 128 others;

 

F.whereas there has been an ongoing state of emergency in Egypt since April 2017, seriously undermining fundamental freedoms and granting the President, and those acting on his behalf, the power to refer civilians to State Security Emergency Courts for the duration of the three-month period; whereas there is no appeal process for State Security Emergency Court verdicts; whereas Egypt extended its nationwide state of emergency for three months from  13 January 2018 to help tackle “the dangers and funding of terrorism” according to state media;

 

G.whereas the overall human rights situation continues to deteriorate in Egypt; whereas the crackdown on terrorism has also been used as justification by the Egyptian authorities to conduct a large-scale campaign of arbitrary detention, harassment, intimidation, enforced disappearance and censorship against government critics, including journalists, human rights defenders, minorities, and political opponents; whereas impunity remains for most incidents of human rights violations;

 

H.whereas Egyptian human rights defenders documenting and denouncing crimes of torture and enforced disappearance have been subject to targeted repressive measures, such as the closure of the El Nadeem Center in 2017 and the attempt by Egyptian authorities to shut down the Cairo office of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF); whereas Egypt opened a legal front against ngo’s last year with a law requiring state security agencies to approve their funding, foreign or domestic, virtually banning them;

I.whereas on April 5, after the presidential elections, Egypt’s highest appeals court will rule on the so-called “foreign funding” case involving international NGO’s accused of stoking unrest during the 2011 Arab Spring uprising; 

 

J. whereas the situation of media freedom in Egypt is extremely worrying, with journalists and media organisations being confronted with criminal prosecution, gag orders, arbitrary detention and serious physical abuse in police custody;

 

K.whereas the fight against torture is a long-standing human rights priority of the EU and a common objective for the Convention Against Torture, which has been signed by Egypt; whereas from 2013 to 2016, the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms reported that at least 30 individuals died after being subjected to torture;

 

L.whereas the recent surge in executions is a departure from Egyptian judiciary tradition which used capital punishment in a relatively limited manner;

 

M.whereas, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), more than 160 UN members states, with a variety of legal systems, traditions, cultures and religious backgrounds, have either abolished the death penalty or do not practise it;

 

N.whereas the EU-Egypt Partnership Priorities for 2017-2020, which were adopted in July 2017, set up a renewed framework for political engagement and enhanced cooperation; whereas both parties committed to combat terrorism with due respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms;

 

O.whereas Presidential elections are taking place 26-28 March; whereas in the past month, four prominent challengers to current President Sisi have quite the race, after being side-lined, jailed or threatened with prosecution;

 

P.whereas last week President Sisi threatened to take strong action against anyone trying to disrupt Egypt’s stability, saying he would not allow a repeat of the 2011 uprising, in a warning following calls by opposition leaders for a boycott of the upcoming presidential elections;

 

1.Is deeply concerned by the dramatic rise in executions in Egypt in the past month; strongly condemns the use of the capital punishment and calls for the halt of any imminent executions, in accordance with Egypt’s international human rights obligations;

 

2.Strongly supports an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty in Egypt as a step towards abolition and urges authorities to review convictions that may have been reached with the use of testimonies gathered from individuals that were subjected to torture or ill treatment and were denied due process;

 

3.Urges Egyptian authorities to uphold all accused persons’ right to due process and fair trials and ensure their physical and psychological safety while imprisoned; denounces the use of torture or ill-treatment; calls on the Egyptian authorities to ensure that they are given any medical attention that they may require;

 

4.Recalls that the EU opposes capital punishment and considers it to be a cruel and inhuman punishment which fails to act as a deterrent to criminal behaviour and is irreversible in the event of error; reminds that despite security challenges in Egypt, executions should not be used as a means to combat terrorism;

 

5.Encourages Egypt to sign and ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aimed at the abolition of the death penalty;

 

6.Calls on the VP/HR to condemn the alarming number of recent executions in Egypt and urges the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Member States to continue to fight against the use of the death penalty; strongly urges Egypt to comply with international minimum standards, and to reduce the scope and use of the death penalty; urges the EEAS to address recent developments in Egypt and in the region in general, and to use all means of influence at its disposal to stop imminent executions and encourage Egyptian authorities to respect human rights and abide by international norms and laws;

 

7.Urges the EU to readdress the worrying consequences of Egypt’s State of Emergency Law and its recent amendments for the respect of human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law; Furthermore calls on the EU to act upon its position about arbitrary arrests, long pre-trial detention, poor prison conditions and torture in Egypt, and to raise concern both publicly and in bilateral conversations;

 

8.Urges the VP/HR to guarantee that human rights are given precedence over migration management and counter terrorism under the EU-Egypt Partnership Priorities and urges the government of Egypt to respect its commitment made under the EU-Egypt Partnership Priorities to promote democracy, fundamental freedoms and human rights in line with its Constitution and international standards;

 

9.Calls on the Egyptian government to issue an immediate and open invitation to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to conduct a country visit, and to allow unfettered access to detainees and to all places of detention;

 

10.Notes the conclusion of an agreement to update the EU's export controls with regard to goods that could be used for torture or capital punishment; calls on the European Commission and Member States, in this regard, to move towards full implementation as soon as possible and to promote this unilateral policy in international fora and in its relations with Egypt in particular, and to look for possibilities to cooperate further with third countries to stop trade in these products;

 

11.Calls for the cessation of military tribunals and courts being used to try civilians as the independence of the judiciary is compromised and the rights of the accused are many times not taken into account; expresses concern that necessary measures to ensure fairness and due process, including a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal, appear not to have been followed;

 

12.Expresses grave concern about the on-going restrictions of fundamental democratic rights, notably the freedom of expression, association and assembly, political pluralism and rule of law in Egypt; calls for an end to all acts of violence, incitement, hate speech, harassment, intimidation, enforced disappearances or censorship against political opponents, protesters, journalists, bloggers, students, women's rights activists, civil society actors, NGOs and minorities including Nubians by state authorities, security forces and services, and other groups in Egypt; condemns the excessive use of violence against protesters; Calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all those detained for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association;

 

13.Expresses its grave concern over the alarming rate at which free speech is repressed in Egypt, including by censorship of the media and a draconian law governing NGOs;

 

14.Expresses its grave concern over the recent intimidation of presidential challengers who have since quite the race, thereby regrettably eliminating genuine competition; 

 

15.Urges President Sisi and his government to fulfil their commitment to genuine political reform and respect for human rights; emphasises that credible and transparent elections are essential for a democracy, as guaranteed by the 2014 constitution and according to Egypt’s international commitments; reiterates the importance of fully implementing the recommendations included in the final report of the 2014 EU Electoral Observation Mission to Egypt;

 

16.Expresses its concern about the ever-increasing use of certain cyber surveillance dual-use technologies that are being used against politicians, activists and journalists;

 

17.Reminds the EU FAC conclusions of 21 August 2013 stated that, "Member States also agreed to suspend export licenses to Egypt of any equipment which might be used for internal repression and to reassess export licenses of equipment covered by Common Position 2008/944/CFSP and review their security assistance with Egypt"; whereas these conclusions were reiterated by the FAC in February 2014; urges EU Member States to immediately suspend all licenses granted for the export of surveillance technology to Egypt;

 

18.Sends its most sincere condolences to the families of victims of terrorism; stands in solidarity with the Egyptian people and reaffirms its commitment in fighting the spread of radical ideologies and terrorist groups;

 

19.Instructs its president to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the VP/HR of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the parliaments and governments of the Member States, and to the Egyptian government and parliament.

 

 

Last updated: 6 February 2018Legal notice