Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations (UN) Alaa Youssef, expressed his rejection for the comments of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet against the latest death verdicts in the mass trial of the Rabaa sit-in dispersal case.
The ambassador’s statements came during a general discussion in the 39th session of the Human Rights Council, that was followed by an opening statement by Bachelet on Monday.
In her speech, while speaking about Egypt, she said that she is “shocked by Saturday’s death sentences for 75 people”, depicting as “trial failed to comply with international standards regarding due process guarantees.” Bachelet also said that the trial reflects “bestows immunity” handed to senior members of the security forces commit “human rights violations.”
Also, on Saturday, she made statements criticising the court verdict, describing it as “unfair trial” and expressed their concern at the decision, which, if carried out, would amount to “a gross and irreversible miscarriage of justice.”
Responding to her critics, Youssef criticised the statement that was issued following the verdict, saying that came disappointing and supported baseless allegations, relying on rumours that serves political interests and confused criminals for victims.
The ambassador addressed the commissioner to be careful, when speaking out human rights issues, saying that it is double-edged sword that could harm rather than strengthen human rights. He also faulted the commissioner’s comment on the Egyptian judiciary, saying “you had to make sure of this information first,” referring to several legal and constitutional articles that represent a guarantee from the Egyptian Criminal Code.
Youssef suggested the commissioner “to avoid repeating rumours and to be more neutral and to pay attention to the violations against refugees in European countries.” He called on the State Information Service (SIS) to move internationally and respond to the critics made by a number of organisation.
Furthermore, head of parliamentary committee of human rights, Alaa Abed said that the committee is in contact with a number of human rights organisations to clarify the facts about the death sentences in the case of the Rabaa dispersal, after the allegations of the office of the high commissioner for human rights.
On Saturday, a judge confirmed the death sentence of 75 defendants including senior members of the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group and also sentenced 47 other defendants to life imprisonment, while another 23 were handed 10 years in prison.
In the case, the defendants face charges of engaging in armed conflict with security forces, harming national security, attacking civilians, destroying public facilities, and supporting the Brotherhood, which has been labelled as a terrorist organisation.
The Rabaa dispersal case is one of the biggest post-30 June legal disputes, in which incidents took place during the dispersal of the sit-in on 16 August 2013.