CAIRO: Egypt’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday condemned the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for criticizing trials that led to the execution of nine people last week.
Nine men were executed on Wednesday over the 2015 killing of the country’s chief prosecutor amid a surge in the number of death sentences carried out this month.
The OHCHR voiced concern on Friday that trials that led to the executions of 15 people in Egypt this month may have been unfair amid allegations that torture was used to obtain confessions.
“Egypt rejects any reference to allegations that confessions were extracted,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that it “rejects any infringement upon the Egyptian judiciary.”
Since 2013, when the military under then-army chief and now President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi ousted President Mohammad Mursi, Egyptian courts have issued hundreds of death sentences.
Only a small proportion have been carried out, though the rate of executions has risen since 2015, rights activists say.
A day earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sharply criticized his Egyptian counterpart El-Sisi after the recent execution of nine people in Egypt, saying he refused to talk to “someone like him.”
“They killed nine young people recently. This is not something we can accept,” Erdogan said in an interview with Turkish TV channels CNN-Turk and Kanal D, referring to the execution on Wednesday of nine men sentenced for the murder of the Egyptian prosecutor general in 2015.
“Of course, we are going to be told that it is a decision of the judiciary, but there, justice, elections, all that, are codswallop. There is an authoritarian system, even totalitarian,” Erdogan added.
“Now, I am answering those who wonder why Tayyip Erdogan does not speak to El-Sisi, because there are mediators who come here sometimes, but I will never talk to someone like him,” he said.
Relations between Turkey and Egypt have been virtually nonexistent since the Egyptian military, then led by El-Sisi, in 2013 ousted Mursi, a close ally of Erdogan.
Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood is outlawed in Egypt but members of the group have sought refuge in Turkey. Erdogan, who denounced Mursi’s ouster, sometimes draws a parallel with the failed coup against himself in 2016.
The Turkish president also called for the release of Muslim Brotherhood prisoners in Egypt.
“First of all, he should release all those imprisoned with a general amnesty. As long as these people have not been released, we will not be able to talk with El-Sisi,” he said.
Erdogan also attacked Western countries which, according to him, “roll out the red carpet” for El-Sisi and turn a blind eye to the latest executions in Egypt.
“Where are the Westerners? Have you heard their voices?” he said. “On the other hand, when it comes to people imprisoned in our country (Turkey), they scream bloody murder.”
Amnesty International condemned the executions of the men, who it said were convicted in trials marred by torture allegations.