The Foreign Secretary William Hague said:
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.
As the United Kingdom we oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. Furthermore, we 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. 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.
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.
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