Head of the Fifth Terrorism Circuit of the Cairo Criminal Court
Judge Mohammed Saeed el-Sherbiny participated in the Egyptian authorities' crushing of independent voices by keeping opposition figures in extended pretrial detention, as part of a campaign to intimidate them into silence.
El-Sherbiny has presided over the trials of numerous dissidents, prosecuted for their peaceful speech, expression, and association or political activism in general. He used vaguely worded and overly broad "anti-terrorism" laws to keep these peaceful activists in extended and unlawful pretrial detention.
"El-Sherbiny used pretrial detention as punishment itself, throwing peaceful activists into jail to silence their voices in Egypt," said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of DAWN. "Why bother bringing evidence when he can simply jail them without trial?"
El-Sherbiny repeatedly extended the pretrial detentions of political detainees Haitham Mohamedain and Khaled Dawoud. Mohamedain is a labor activist and human rights lawyer who advocates for independent and worker-led trade unions. He has organized and led numerous social justice and democracy protests throughout Egypt. Dawoud has consistently been a strong voice in support of democracy and human rights in Egypt. He opposed military rule during his tenure as a leader of al-Dostour party between March 17, 2017 and May 13, 2018. No evidence was presented to establish any of the statutory conditions for pre-trial detention as stipulated in Article 134 of Egypt's Code of Criminal Procedure.
El-Sherbiny ordered these detainees to remain in pretrial detention without providing reasons for his decision, as required by Egyptian domestic law and international standards of due process. In some instances, el-Sherbiny extended pretrial detention without giving the detainees or their lawyers a meaningful chance to be present and make arguments, in violation of Egyptian domestic law and international human rights law.
In the case of Mohamedain, el-Sherbiny extended his pre-trial detention on July 25, 2020, without giving him a chance to be present and make arguments, in violation of Articles 143 of Egypt's Code of Criminal Procedure and international human rights law.
El-Sherbiny graduated with a Bachelor of Law from Mansoura University in Egypt's Delta. His most famous decisions as Head of Port Said Criminal Court and as Head of Fifth Terrorism Circuit of the Cairo Criminal Court were those imposing death sentences on eleven defendants in the case of Port Said Stadium Massacre in June 2015, seven defendants in the case of Helwan Microbus in November 2019 and two defendants in the case of Mar Mina Church in May 2019.
On September 23, 2020, DAWN requested a response from el-Sherbiny by writing to the Egyptian government, but no response has been received as of publication.
Watch the video of el-Sherbiny here.
About DAWN's culprit gallery:
Tyrants need enablers who will implement their oppressive practices, even if it means abusing their fellow citizens. These agents often mask their complicity in the guise of professionals exercising their duties in offices, courtrooms, police stations, and interrogation rooms.
DAWN seeks to disclose the identity of the state agents who enable repression and to make them recognizable at home and abroad. These individuals, whom DAWN calls "culprits," bear administrative, civil, moral, legal, and/or political responsibility for human rights and international humanitarian law violations.