Egyptian court upholds death penalty imposed on three Seychelles nationals
In a press statement issued this afternoon, MFA said the three men who are currently being detained in Egypt’s Qena prison have lost their appeal against the death sentence imposed on them last year.
Ronny Norman Jean, Yvon John Vinda and Dean Dominic Loze were sentenced to death by execution on April 7, 2013, the sentence was confirmed on June 3, 2013.
Ever since the death sentence was imposed on the three Seychellois nationals, the Seychelles government had been appealing to the Egyptian government to commute their sentences to life imprisonment.
“Although it is the government’s policy to respect the sovereignty and judicial process in other countries, it nevertheless upholds the rights of its citizens to a fair trial. To this end, whilst reassuring the Egyptian authorities of its “zero tolerance” policy against drug trafficking, the Government wrote in 2013 to the Egyptian to appeal for a fair trial and the avoidance of capital punishment which does not exist in our legal system,” reads the MFA statement issued this afternoon.
“In the same vein, the Government took all measures practical and feasible to ensure that the Seychellois obtained the required legal and consular representation.”
The decision made known today implies that execution orders will now follow. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not specify if a date had been set for the sentence to be applied.
Executions are usually carried out by hanging in Egypt.
In spite of the recent development the archipelago’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs have made known the government’s intention to continue negotiating with the Egyptian authorities on the matter.
“…..the Government is not relenting in its efforts to pursue all possible diplomatic and legal avenues in consultation with the Egyptian authorities to avert the death penalty,” concludes the MFA statement.
The three Seychellois men were arrested on April 22, 2011 by the Egyptian police onboard a boat near the Red Sea coastal town of Marsa Alam. They were together with a British national identified as Charles Raymond Ferndale, who is said to be the owner of the vessel and another Pakistani national.
They were accused and charged for attempting to smuggle three tonnes of hashish, worth almost £3million, in 118 bags into Egypt.
It is believed that the drugs found in the South African flagged vessel originated from Pakistan.
All five men were sentenced to death, but the Pakistani national was said to have fled the scene and was sentenced in absentia.