Egypt's recent executions of nine Muslim Brotherhood members have led to international condemnation from rights groups. However, Western governments have chosen to remain silent in the face of unfair trials amid allegations that the Egyptian authorities used torture to obtain confessions. On Wednesday, Egypt executed nine men convicted of carrying out a car bomb attack in 2015 that killed the country's chief prosecutor. Six other people were also executed earlier this month. Three of them were convicted of assassinating a police officer and three others in connection with the murder of the son of a judge. International rights groups have decried the executions, saying the men were sentenced to death following torture and beatings to extract confessions. A U.K.-based rights group has recently called for an investigation into claims that the nine men were tortured into confessing to the crime. In an interview with Anadolu Agency (AA), Salma Ashraf, head of Human Rights Monitor, a London-based nongovernmental organization (NGO), said allegations that these men were tortured had been ignored by the court that condemned them to death. "Allegations of torture were being made," she said. "All of them [later] denied their confessions, stating that they had been made under torture."
Despite ongoing international condemnation, the governments of the U.S., Germany, France, Italy and the U.K., aiming to maintain close relations with Egypt in order to protect their interests in the region, have refrained from making any statements about the executions. In addition, while executions were causing an uproar, European leaders gathered for a two-day summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, focused mainly on Egypt's "fight against terrorism" rather than the unjust sentences and its worsening human rights records.
Erdoğan: EU hypocritical on human rights
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday lambasted the participation of EU officials in the summit. "Can we talk about democracy in EU member countries who accepted the invitation of Sissi, who has executed 42 people since he came to power and nine young people last week, although capital punishment is banned [in the EU]?" Erdoğan said during a speech in the northeastern province of Giresun. "Can we talk about rights and freedoms over there? ... It is not possible to understand them. The EU is not sincere."
Egyptian courts have issued hundreds of death sentences since 2013, when the former military chief and now President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi ousted the country's first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi in a coup. Since 2015, the number of executions in Egypt has surged to an unprecedented level, according to rights activists that are concerned that more innocent Egyptians, many of them members of the Muslim Brotherhood, will be subject to unfair executions.
Since Morsi's overthrow, Egyptian authorities have launched a relentless crackdown on dissent, killing hundreds of his supporters and sending thousands to prison for inciting violence. Activists consider the repression the worst in Egypt's modern history. According to rights groups, authorities have executed at least 165 people since July 2013, including at least 32 between January and November 2018. A total of 15 people have been executed in Egypt since the start of the year. Three were hanged earlier this month for their involvement in the 2014 killing of a judge's son in the Nile Delta town of Mansoura. Authorities executed another three for killing a police officer in Cairo in September 2013.