Guidance

Bereavement information – Egypt: murder, manslaughter, and suspicious deaths

Information and advice if a family member or friend has been a victim of murder, manslaughter or died in suspicious circumstances in Egypt.

Information and advice if a friend or family member has been a victim of murder, manslaughter or has died in suspicious circumstances in Egypt.

This information is to help you understand what you need to do if a British national has been a victim of murder or manslaughter or has died in suspicious circumstances in Egypt and you are the next of kin.

You should also read the guidance available on what you need to do if you are bereaved through murder or manslaughter abroad, and what support the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) can provide.

Post mortems (autopsies)

Post mortems are conducted for all deaths which the Egyptian authorities deem to be suspicious, without consent from next of kin. Organ samples may be retained without next of kin consent, but this is not always the case. You may need to appoint a local lawyer or consult your consular officer for advice.

The duration of a post mortem examination will vary depending on the complexity of the case, police investigations and laboratory tests. Post mortem reports can be obtained via the British Embassy but the process is lengthy. They are usually eventually released but it can take from 1-2 years, sometimes longer.

Repatriation

You should appoint a funeral director to liaise with Egyptian authorities for the issue of a repatriation permit and local death certificate. Both are required for repatriation to the UK. The British Embassy can provide a list of funeral directors experienced in arranging international repatriation. Post mortem reports are not required for repatriation. If a post mortem had been conducted, but the forensic report is not yet finalised, a death certificate may be issued with the cause of death stated as ‘not yet verified/determined’ to allow the repatriation of the deceased. If you wish for confirmation of the cause of death stated on the local death certificate you will need to speak to your funeral director.

Mortuary and refrigeration facilities are available throughout Egypt although facilities and fees vary greatly (for example £5-250 per day depending on conditions and location). Embalming is required for repatriation. Sometimes local embalming methods mean that the full range of tests cannot be done if a second post mortem is requested. Embalming procedures may have an impact on the efficacy of any subsequent post mortems (for example, if one is ordered by a Coroner in England or Wales).

Burial or Cremation

You should be aware that cremation is not available or permitted in Egypt. If you wish for the deceased to be cremated you will have to appoint a funeral director and arrange for the deceased to be repatriated to the UK or another country in order for a cremation to take place.

You will need to appoint a local funeral director to advise on burial options in Egypt and to help make the necessary arrangements. The Egyptian authorities will usually request a ‘no objection to burial’ letter; the British Embassy can prepare the letter for a fee of £70.

Police Investigations

Police Investigations can take anything from a few weeks to many years. If you are in Egypt you will usually be interviewed by the police and prosecutor as part of the investigation. Witnesses, friends and neighbours of the deceased are also all likely to be interviewed. Prosecutors will usually share information with families.

You are advised to appoint a local lawyer who will be able to seek updates on your behalf and advise you on the local judicial system. This is particular important if you are outside of Egypt. Cases are kept open or closed based on the evidence available. If you are unhappy with the outcome of investigations, options are limited. It is unlikely a case will be reopened unless new evidence becomes available; and only then will it be reopened on appeal via a lawyer.

Judicial Process

The judicial process is very different to UK. Prosecutor’s play a leading role in investigation and the process can take from 1- 2 years, sometimes longer. If you are not resident in Egypt we advise you to appoint a lawyer to act on your behalf.

The death penalty is used in Egypt. The UK government opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. We believe its use undermines human dignity, there is no proof of its deterrent effect, and errors made in its use are irreversible. Where there is a risk of the death penalty being imposed and carried out for the crime under investigation, the UK will seek assurances that anyone found guilty would not face the death penalty. Provision of UK assistance and related information may not be provided to the overseas authority if inadequate or no assurances are received.

Other useful information

  • We are not aware of any support organisations or compensation that can be offered locally.

Neither the British Embassy nor HM Government accept legal liability with regards to the content of this information sheet

Published 8 May 2017