(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The British government expressed concerns on Sunday regarding new death sentences in Egypt, including the confirmation on death sentences issued last March.
"I am deeply concerned that 683 people have been sentenced to death by a court in Egypt, and that 37 death sentences originally handed down in March have been upheld," Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement.
The foreign Secretary added that his country opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle.
However, Hague said they "are deeply concerned by reports that many of the defendants were tried in their absence and did not have proper legal representation in court.
"These sentences damage the reputation of Egypt's judicial system, and are likely to undermine international confidence about progress towards reform and democratisation in Egypt," Hague said.
"I am particularly concerned at the potential negative impact of such sentences on the Egyptian Government's ability to take forward an inclusive political process, which is the best way to achieve long term stability in Egypt and to address the country's challenges," the secretary noted.
"For all these reasons, and as a strong friend of the Egyptian people, the United Kingdom government urges the Egyptian authorities to review these sentences and to ensure that human and legal rights are fully upheld in this case, and in the country as a whole," Hague added.