State Council amends Penal Code to apply capital punishment for kidnapping
Prime minister Ibrahim Mahlab - YOUM7

CAIRO: The death penalty shall apply to abductors who demand ransom, according to a Penal Code amendment drafted by the legislation department, Youm7 reported Monday.

Regardless of the age or sex of the abducted person, the judge may decide to sentence kidnappers to life, and sentence them to death in case of victims who are sexually assaulted or raped.

The Legislation Department, which falls within the umbrella of courts of the State Council, has sent the amendment to the Cabinet for approval. The Cabinet, then, would send it to President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi for final approval, Youm7 reported.

The amendment was triggered by an increasing rate of abductions for ransom, Youm7 reported.

Death penalty in Egypt

The Ministry of Transitional Justice stated in November that Egypt would not approve the abolition of the death penalty, which was a recommendation to Egypt from the recent United Nations Universal Periodic Review.

The ministry cited “established constitutional and societal reasons.”

Although hundreds were sentenced to death in 2014, capital punishment cases in Egypt go through several levels of litigation, and in many cases are commuted. With 12 cases, Egypt ranked 17th out of 82 countries that executed convicts in 2007-2012, according to an Amnesty International report.  China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the U.S. topped the list.

However, in June 2014 alone, Egypt executed some 10 people on charges of murder, rape and robbery.

Judges traditionally refer cases to the Grand Mufti for consultation on death sentences, but they are not bound to apply the Mufti’s opinion. Further, judges may, but are not obligated to, turn to the codes that stipulate executions.

Some of the crimes punishable by death in Egypt are murder, rape, abduction, drug trafficking, treason, espionage and terrorism.

Execution of civilians in Egypt is implemented by hanging in a private room at prison in the presence of the executioner, a cleric and a judicial official. Minors, the mentally ill and pregnant women are exempted from the punishment.

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