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Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi at the funeral of Hisham Barakat in Cairo on Tuesday. (Photo: Egyptian Presidency/EPA)

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi at the funeral of state prosecutor Hisham Barakat in Cairo on Tuesday. (Photo: Egyptian Presidency/EPA)

Egyptian President Vows to Fast Track Process of Putting People to Death

Announcement is latest sign that U.S.-backed ruler is implementing harsh authoritarian law

Sarah Lazare

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi vowed Tuesday to escalate his clampdown on dissent and political opposition by expediting the process of putting people to death.

The announcement is the latest sign the U.S.-backed head of state is enforcing full-blown authoritarian rule, which some analysts warn is the worst the country has seen in 60 years—including during the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak who was toppled by a popular uprising in 2011.

Speaking to reporters at the Cairo funeral of state prosecutor Hisham Barakat, who was killed in a car bombing on Monday, al-Sisi said he will soon unveil laws that will fast track hearings of people on death row and slash their rights to appeal their executions. Because the president is ruling by decree, his statements could very well be implemented.

Al-Sisi vowed this process will move swiftly.

"The hand of justice is tied by laws... We will not wait for that," said al-Sisi in comments broadcast over state television. "We will not sit for five or 10 years putting on trial the people who kill us."

It still is not clear who killed Barakat—who himself oversaw mass trials in which hundreds of people were put to death without due process.

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Al-Sisi's remarks came one day after the release of an Amnesty International report that urged Egyptian authorities not to use political violence as "a pretext for trampling upon human rights."

According to the study, the enormity of the crackdown in the short time since al-Sisi took power has already been staggering—funneling an entire generation of young protesters into prisons and transforming Egypt into a blatant police state.

"More than a year after he came to power, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government has shown no sign of easing its repressive rule," states the report. "The crackdown has seen more than 41,000 people arrested, charged or indicted with a criminal offense, or sentenced after unfair trials, according to the last available estimates by Egyptian human rights activists."

"The scale of the crackdown is overwhelming. The Egyptian authorities have shown that they will stop at nothing in their attempts to crush all challenges to their authority," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

Sahraoui continued, "Those behind bars range from internationally lauded youth movement leaders, to human rights defenders, to students arrested for wearing T-shirts with anti-torture slogans."


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