Egypt (Q&A - Excerpt from the daily press briefing - November 29, 2012)

Q : 1. Egypt is being plunged into a crisis; the judicial bodies have denounced the strengthening of the powers of the president, and the constituent assembly, which is dominated by the Islamists and criticized by the liberals, has just completed the final version of the new constitution. Do you have any comment?

2. Yesterday, an Egyptian court condemned 7 Egyptian Coptic Christians and American Pastor Terry Jones to death in connection with the film mocking the Prophet Muhammad. What is France’s position in this respect since it denounces the death penalty in all countries?

A : 1. Regarding your first question, the final text has not yet been presented and, consequently, it’s too soon to make any comment.

The political transition must take place in accordance with the aspirations that have been expressed by the Egyptians since the revolution and must respect the principles of democracy, the rule of law and human rights.

2. Regarding your second question, we noted with concern these death sentences handed down in absentia.

France reaffirms its commitment to the freedom of religion and belief, on the one hand, and to the freedom of opinion and expression, on the other hand. With respect to any further action, France calls on Egypt to comply with its international obligations, notably the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which guarantees these fundamental freedoms and the conditions for a fair and just trial.

In addition, France is opposed to the death penalty everywhere, under all circumstances. We regularly reaffirm this position in our bilateral dialogue and in the international forums. It was with this in mind that the minister launched a campaign for the universal abolition of the death penalty on October 9.