Egypt's Permanent Delegate to the United Nations in Geneva on Tuesday stressed Egypt's respect for human rights and defended its death penalty, after international criticism of its recent human rights record.
Ambassador Amr Ramadan's statements followed a Cairo court on Tuesday morning upholding a May death sentence against ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and 99 others, of whom 93 in absentia, over a prison break in 2011.
Egypt respects its international obligations to protect human rights and is looking forward to strengthening its cooperation with the UN's Human Rights Council to help all countries improve their human rights situation, he said at the council's 29th session.
Ramadan said that he was astonished that some members were calling for the abolition of the death penalty, explaining that neither the International Declaration of Human Rights nor the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights prohibit the death penalty.
"In countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes in accordance with the law in force at the time of the commission of the crime and not contrary to the provisions of the present Covenant and to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide," states Article 6 of the covenant. "This penalty can only be carried out pursuant to a final judgement rendered by a competent court.
Egypt applies to death sentence in the case of "terrorism-related crimes", Ramadan said.
In May, six men were hanged after an Egyptian military court found them guilty of "killing army personnel" in 2014 in the "Arab Sharkas" case, sparking condemnation from human rights groups. Relatives and lawyers claimed that at least two of the men had been detained before the incident.
Since Morsi's ouster in July 2013, Egypt has detained thousands of alleged supporters of the now banned Muslim Brotherhood group from which he hails.
Militant attacks against army and security personnel have spiked, especially in North Sinai.