Egypt kills 49 in 'outrageous' mass executions: HRW

BEIRUT (AFP) - Egypt executed 49 prisoners in just 10 days in October, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday (Oct 22), calling for the authorities to "immediately halt" carrying out death sentences.

"Egypt's mass executions of scores of people in a matter of days is outrageous," HRW's Joe Stork said.

The rights group said it calculated the number killed between Oct 3 and 13 based on announcements in pro-government newspapers, as executions are not typically announced - or even the prisoner's family told, HRW said.

"The systematic absence of fair trials in Egypt, especially in political cases, makes every death sentence a violation of the right to life," Mr Stork added, in a statement issued in Beirut.

Of the 49 killed, 15 were men convicted for alleged involvement in political violence.

They were convicted in three separate cases, including 10 prisoners accused of carrying out attacks in 2014 for the Islamist insurgent group Ajnad Masrm (Soldiers of Egypt).

Another three were executed for their alleged involvement in a 2013 attack on a police station in the Kerdassa suburb of Cairo, and two others for a violent demonstration in Alexandria in 2013.

The executions come after four security officers in Cairo were reported to have been killed by prisoners on death row, and four prisoners then killed when they allegedly tried to escape, HRW said.

Other prisoners put to death had been sentenced for crimes, including murder and rape.

HRW estimates that since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was elected in 2014, Egypt has become one of the top 10 countries carrying out death sentences.

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