Vienna, 29 April 2014 Press release

Austrian Foreign Minister Kurz sharply criticises latest death sentences in Egypt

The principles of rule of law must be observed

Vienna, 29 April 2014 – A criminal court in the Egyptian city of Minya sentenced 683 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to death, including their leader Mohammed Badie. In a separate trial, the judge confirmed 37 of the 529 death sentences passed in March on members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The defendants in both trials faced charges over an attack on police stations and the murder of police officers. "We clearly oppose the death penalty and the new death sentences passed in Egypt. Collective punishment violates all fundamental principles of the rule of law", Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said.

Austria supports Egypt's efforts on its way towards democratisation and its fight against terror. Austria acknowledges the right of the Egyptian people to pursue their own course, while emphasising that Egypt has accepted comprehensive international obligations to protect human rights that are endorsed in its new constitution. "Sentences like the ones passed recently, the planned anti-terror act, insufficient protection of freedom of the media and the preliminary ban of all activities of the April 6 Youth Movement weaken the trust of the Egyptian people and the international community in this necessary and difficult process", Sebastian Kurz continued. Austria calls upon the Egyptian authorities to rethink their approach and to reverse the judgements. At the same time Austria expresses its hopes that the presidential elections to be held on 26 and 27 May will be peaceful and that international standards will be observed.

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