(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The EU Tuesday voiced "strong opposition" to recommendation of death penalty for an additional 683 persons by a court in Minya in Egypt, which has already issued a similar recommendation for 529 persons in late March.
"It is also of particular concern that of this latter group, the recommendation has been confirmed in the case of 37 persons," said EU High Representative Catherine Ashton in a statement tonight.
"These mass trials are clearly in breach of international human rights law: the exact charges against each defendant remain unclear, the proceedings lack the most basic standards of due process and the verdicts appear grossly disproportionate, failing short of complying with the principle of individual sentencing," she noted.
The EU foreign policy chief reiterated her call on the Egyptian judicial authorities to ensure, in line with international standards, the defendants' rights to a fair and timely trial based on clear charges and proper and independent investigations, as well as the right of access and contact to lawyers and family members.
"The EU observes a very worrying trend regarding the compliance of Egypt with its international human rights obligations, as well as the seriousness of Egypt's transition towards democracy which requires a legal and judicial framework respecting international human rights standards," she said.
Ashton called on the Egyptian authorities "to immediately reverse this trend which jeopardizes any prospects for overcoming divisions within society and to ensure progress towards a truly democratic, stable and prosperous Egypt, through a political process open to all citizens."