Egypt may execute convicted bombers soon — activists

CAIRO (Reuters) — Egypt may soon execute three men sentenced to die for bombings that killed at least 34 people in the Sinai resort town of Taba in 2004, human rights activists said on Tuesday.The activists said they had received information that President Hosni Mubarak’s legal advisers had recommended ratifying the death sentences against the men, and rights groups urged Egypt not to execute them, saying their trial was flawed. The bombings in Taba were the first in a series of three attacks on tourist areas in the Sinai Peninsula that killed more than 100 people.

“We are receiving information that the ratification might be imminent,” said Hossam Bahgat of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, adding that the executions could be carried out within hours of the sentence being ratified.

Gasser Abdel-Razek, a Cairo-based activist with Human Rights Watch, said he had similarly received unofficial information that the executions could take place “very soon”.

Egypt says the bombers were Sinai bedouin with militant Islamist views, some of them with Palestinian connections.

Younis Gurair, Osama Al Nakhlawi and Mohammad Hussein were sentenced to death by a state security court last year for their role in the Taba attack. They have no right to appeal, although President Hosni Mubarak can order a retrial.

US-based Human Rights Watch said it had sent a letter to Mubarak asking for a retrial, citing “serious trial irregularities including allegations of torture, coerced confessions and prolonged incommunicado detention”.

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights also renewed a request for a stay of execution while it considers a lawsuit over accusations of rights violations, said Bahgat, whose group is involved in the suit. Human Rights Watch, which opposes capital punishment in all circumstances, said it was distressed that the court did not appear troubled that one of the convicted men had confessed to the bombing but gave investigators details that conflicted significantly with the facts of the case.

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