While the EU is under heavy criticisms for its "deafening silence" over the executions in Egypt, Vice President of the European Parliament, Pavel Telicka, said "Aren't we, in the EU, sometimes hypocritical? Yes, we are. It's a matter of fact. We are imperfect, yet in terms of human rights and on the question of the death penalty, the EU has a record that no one in the world has, but we are not a world policeman." Telicka's comments came after a question raised during the 7th World Congress Against the Death Penalty held at the European Parliament in Brussels. Telicka said he has recently met with an Egyptian minister where he raised concerns on human rights and asked for a visit to Egypt.
"So far that did not have a follow-up. I regret to say, it takes two to dance the tango. Having said that, I need to also eventually admit that not everyone in the EU is always 100 percent pursuing that [humanitarian] policy." Telicka pointed at the U.N. for the issue and said the EU should also step up its efforts. "For sure, we can always do better."
Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, who also attended to the event, responded to a question on European leaders attending a summit in Egypt just after the execution of nine men. Reynders said that they are holding bilateral talks with Egyptian authorities on the matter. "There are two different elements, the way to go to the abolition of the death penalty which is a [EU] principle and the other way is to discuss the conditions of prosecution and the application of death penalty."
Last week Egyptian authorities executed nine young men convicted of assassinating an Egyptian prosecutor-general in 2015 in a car bombing. Amnesty International said the men were convicted on terrorism charges after "grossly unfair trials" marred by torture. U.N. human rights spokesman Rupert Colville told a briefing in Geneva, that "there is significant cause for concern that due process and fair trial guarantees may not have been followed in some or all of these cases, and that the very serious allegations concerning the use of torture were not properly investigated." European leaders attended the two-day EU-Arab summit in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, a few days after the execution. Following the summit, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker posted a tweet in which he said he is "grateful" to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi for hosting the summit. The EU Commission, EU Council and the EU Parliament have not yet commented on the 15 political executions that took place in Egypt in the past month.
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