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Egypt hangs nine men 'unfairly convicted' of killing public prosecutor, despite last-minute appeals for amnesty Open in fullscreen

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Egypt hangs nine men 'unfairly convicted' of killing public prosecutor, despite last-minute appeals for amnesty

Egyptian defendant accused of assassinating Hisham Barakat in 2015 during a 2017 court hearing[AFP/Getty Images]

Date of publication: 20 February, 2019

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Amnesty International had called on Egypt to halt the execution of nine prisoners, whose confessions to killing a public prosecutor is believed to have been extracted through torture.
Egypt hanged nine men in the early hours of Wednesday morning, despite urgent appeals and protests over the way they were found guilty of assassinating a public prosecutor in 2015.

The execution was confirmed by the Egyptian regime's Prison Authority in a statement carried by Egyptian press on Wednesday.

Amnesty International had called on Egyptian authorities to immediately halt the planned executions on Tuesday.

"Time is running out to save the lives of these nine men. The Egyptian authorities have an opportunity to do the right thing by immediately halting any plans to carry out these executions," said Najia Bounaim, Amnesty International's North Africa Campaigns Director, on Tuesday.

The men were convicted after a trial over the 2015 killing of Egypt's former public prosecutor. Amnesty International called the trial "unfair", citing the defendants who said their confessions were extracted through torture.

"There is no doubt that those involved in deadly attacks must be prosecuted and held accountable for their actions but executing prisoners or convicting people based on confessions extracted through torture is not justice," Bounaim said.

Egyptian activists staged a sit-in in front of the Egyptian embassy in Istanbul late on Tuesday to protest the execution of the prisoners.

Yassin Atkay, an advisor to Turkish President Erdogan, condemned the executions tweeting: "Extermination (of dissidents) goes by the name of execution in Egypt". 

The nine men were among 28 men sentenced to death for the killing of Public Prosecutor Hisham Barakat in a car bomb explosion in 2015.

Among the 28, 13 have been convicted in absentia. One of these men was forcibly returned to Egypt from Turkey in January. 

Mohammed Abdel Hafiz, who hoped to seek refuge in Turkey, was forced onto a place to Cairo on 18 January after he landed at Istanbul's Ataturk airport.

Turkey, which has given shelter to hundreds of Egyptian dissidents, has since opened an investigation into the circumstances of the deportation.

Bounaim condemned the "alarming escalation in executions so far this year" in Egypt. At least six men were executed earlier this month in Egypt after unfair trials.

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