September 7th, 2021
By Rehan Piracha
Pakistan’s embassy in Cairo will appeal against the death sentences handed to seven Pakistani nationals convicted in a drug trafficking case along with two Egyptians and an Iranian citizen in Egypt, the Foreign Office told Voicepk.net on Monday, September 6.
In a written response, Foreign Office Spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said the seven Pakistanis were arrested in April 2019 by the Egyptian Navy from the Red Sea, onboard a vessel called Malika-II.
“They were charged for trafficking two tonnes of heroin and 88 kilograms crystal methamphetamine (ICE),” he said.
According to news reports, the seized narcotics had an estimated street value worth US $159 million. Reportedly, the suspects had stashed the drugs in a hidden storage room aboard the ship.
“The embassy assisted them by ensuring their well-being through jail visits, hiring a lawyer and a translator, and providing them food, medicine and cash throughout their incarceration,” the Foreign Office said in response to whether the embassy had sought consular access to the Pakistani prisoners in Egypt.
The (Egyptian) trial court found them guilty and awarded them the death sentence on 5th July. The written/detailed judgment was publicised on 5th September, the Foreign Office spokesperson said.
“On the request of the prisoners and their families in Pakistan, the Embassy is in the process of filing an appeal in the higher/appellate court as per the local laws/rules,” he said.
Under Egyptian law, convicts can appeal the sentence within two months. Death sentences are carried out by hanging in Egypt.
Human rights organisations have slammed the significant increase in Egypt’s executions, which saw a more than threefold rise to 107 last year from 32 in 2019. Egypt carries out the world’s third highest number of executions after China and Iran, according to Amnesty International.