The Egypt Death Penalty Index: a groundbreaking new tool in the fight for human rights in Egypt

Image of guards shouting at people and prisoners fighting to get out from behind bars

Egypt is in the midst a human rights crisis. Since coming to power in 2013, the regime of current President Abdelfattah el-Sisi has overseen more than 144 executions and handed preliminary death sentences to more than 2,400 people. Ten of these were children.

Ahmed Saddouma was arrested when he was 17 for a crime he couldn’t possibly have committed – it took place three weeks after his arrest. He was then tortured into making a false confession and sentenced to death in a mass trial of 30, mostly adult, co-defendants.

Ahmed’s case is one of those we know about. But Egypt has handed out so many death sentences – both preliminary and confirmed – in recent years that it has overwhelmed the human rights activists, media outlets and policymakers trying to keep track. Many cases go unreported to international human rights mechanisms and media outlets. People get lost in the system.

In response to this crisis, Reprieve has created the Egypt Death Penalty Index–- an open-source website that aims to track every single death sentence recommended by Egyptian courts since the January 25th 2011 revolution. The Index – at www.egyptdeathpenaltyindex.com – is a free, centralised database for anyone wishing to learn more about Egypt’s application of the death penalty as a whole, or about individual death penalty trials or defendants, where Reprieve is at liberty to publish that information. The site includes statistical analysis of trends in Egypt’s application of the death penalty as well as an option to download the full dataset in its raw form. The Index also offers an option for users to submit any missing information they may possess related to the death penalty in Egypt to site moderators, for verification and possible addition to the site, provided that such data can lawfully be publicised. You can read more about how to use the site here.

This data compiled by Reprieve for the Index project is information that the UN General Assembly has said should be provided by any country that continues to apply the death penalty. The vast majority of executing states, including Egypt, have resolutely failed to do this, so it has fallen to civil society groups like Reprieve to build out these datasets from scratch.

We hope that this website will be a live, real-time report of capital punishment in Egypt, and serve as an invaluable resource to defendants and their families, human rights defenders, the legal community and the media. Most importantly, though, we hope that the international community – countries, and their leaders, that maintain strong ties with Egypt and so have real opportunities to influence el-Sisi’s regime – see this information as a wake-up call and start taking action wherever possible to curtail Egypt’s unlawful application of the death penalty.