Capital punishment in Egypt

Capital punishment is a legal penalty in Egypt. The state carried out at least 44 executions in 2016, at least 35 in 2017, and at least 43 in 2018.[1] On 8 September, 2018 a court in Egypt sentenced 75 people to death and 47 others to life imprisonment. They were charged with murder, membership in a terrorist group.[2] The English newspaper Independent has reported that Najia Bounaim of Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa described the court's sentence to “disgraceful" and "a mockery of justice.".[3] The method of execution is hanging for civilian convictions, and by firing squad for convictions by commissioned military personnel at the time of duty.

The Grand Mufti of Egypt Shawki Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam, is responsible under Egyptian law for reviewing all death sentences in Egypt. Legally, his opinion is consultative and non-binding to the presiding court that handed down the death sentence.[4]

Port Said Stadium disaster

On 26 January 2013, an Egyptian court gave death sentences to 21 people convicted of involvement in a mass attack by fans of the Al-Masry Club against fans of the Al-Ahly Sports Club at Port Said Stadium on 1 February 2012.[5][6] At least 72 people died in violence that erupted in Port Said, Egypt, during the Port Said Stadium disaster.[7][8]

2014 mass trials

On 28 April 2014 amid the 2013 Egyptian coup d'état, An Egyptian judge has sentenced 683 alleged Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death, including the group's supreme guide, Mohamed Badie, and confirmed the death sentences of 37 of 529 alleged supporters previously condemned. Mohamed Elmessiry, an Amnesty International researcher monitoring the cases, said they "lacked basic fair trial guarantees". The defendants from the first case whose death sentences were not upheld were each sentenced to 25 years in prison.[9] Meanwhile, the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters banned the April 6 Movement, a grassroots organization instrumental in the 2011 revolution that Egypt's military last year seized power ostensibly to protect.[10]

Judge Saeed Youssef first attracted international condemnation and prompted an outcry from human-rights groups after he handed down the initial sentence for the 528 defendants on March 24, following a brief trial marked by irregularities.[11] Later he reversed 492 of those 529 death sentences, commuting most of them to life in prison.

Egyptian law requires that death sentences are confirmed by the presiding judge after a comment has been invited from the Grand Mufti of Al Azhar, the country's leading religious official. The Mufti's opinion to the judge is secret. The guilty verdict and death sentences are still subject to appeal at the Court of Appeal. "The case killed the credibility of the Egyptian judicial system," said Elmessiry of Amnesty International.[9]

The violence of which the defendants are accused took place on August 14, 2013 as news reached Minya governorate that police had launched the deadly clearance of two sit-ins in Cairo, held by supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi, who had been deposed after mass protests against his rule.[9]


Executions by hanging have generally been carried out at the Cairo Central Prison. However prisons of Wadi Al Natrun and Burj Al Arab both house an execution chamber.[12]


  1. "Death sentences and executions in 2016". Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  2. Egypt sentences 75 protesters to death after mass trial
  3. Egypt sentences 75 protesters to death after demonstrations where 900 were people killed by security services
  4. El-Deen, El-Sayed Gamal (24 Mar 2014). "'Fast' death penalty for 529 Brotherhood supporters will be appealed: Defence". Ahram Online. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  5. "Egypt football: Death sentences over Port Said stadium violence". BBC News.
  6. Reuters Editorial (26 January 2013). "Egypt court sentences 21 to death for stadium disaster". Reuters.
  7. "Egypt unrest: Death sentences over football riots spark violence". BBC News.
  8. Yusri Mohamed and Yasmine Saleh (26 January 2013). "Riots over Egyptian death sentences kill at least 32". Reuters.
  9. Al Jazeera. "Egyptian court sentences 683 people to death".
  10. Vick, Karl (28 April 2014). "Day of suppressive rulings shows Egyptian courts no longer independent". Time.
  11. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-11-11. Retrieved 2016-12-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. Shayanian, Sara (December 26, 2017). "Egypt executes 15 militants over terrorism charges". UPI. The militants were executed at the Prison of Wadi Al Natrun, west of Cairo, and the Prison of Burj Al Arab in the Mediterranean Sea city of Alexandria.
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