Statement by the Spokesperson on the sentencing in Egypt
On Saturday 75 death penalties were confirmed in a mass trial in Egypt. The European Union recalls its opposition to the capital punishment in all circumstances. We consistently raise this with all the countries in the world that still use the death penalty, calling for its universal abolition. Moreover, the circumstances of this mass trial cast serious doubts on the respect of due process and in particular the defendants' rights to a fair trial.
The sentencing of UNESCO-awarded Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as Shawkan, to five years in prison as part of the same trial paves the way for his forthcoming release based on time already served. The European Union is relieved that he will soon be released, although the sentence and conditions for his release appear not to be in line with Egypt's Constitution and international obligations. Respect for civil liberties – including freedom of expression and media freedom - is an essential part of the foundations of a democratic society, and journalists should be free to exercise their profession without fear of prosecution or imprisonment.
The European Union is fully committed to supporting Egypt’s sustainable stability and development, based on our joint Partnership Priorities. Sustainable stability and security can only go hand in hand with the full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.