VT: What’s the most disturbing thing that you’ve seen on death row?
“One of the most disturbing ones who actually did get the death penalty was this guy who would rape babies who were six months old and then dispose of them in the trash.”
“I also had a girl who was in the addiction ward, she wasn’t on death row, [and] she killed her mom. She took away her oxygen mask to sell it to buy drugs. And [there was] this other mom who strangled her daughter to death because she threw her drugs in the trash.”
VT: In the West, when we think of death row, we automatically think of the American system. Is it any different in the East?
“I would say it’s quite different in the East. I can’t speak for other countries. But I know our [execution system] is quite primitive so we hang them. There’s no lethal injection [or] electric chair. I know that if it’s a police officer or someone in the army, they shoot them to death.”
“[The prisoners on death row] wear red, not blue. The regular prisoners wear blue. They are in solitary confinement. They never actually tell them when the date is. Sometimes it’s in a month, other times it’s in a day. Which is really scary, I think. They give them one wish, and a priest comes and prays for them and with them. Then they cover their heads and hang them.”
“I think what’s also different in Egypt and in the East is that when you do get a death sentence, you are given a chance to repeal. I would say that most of the people who do get the death sentence don’t end up dying.”
VT: In Egypt, what kind of crimes merit the death penalty?
“[The] number one [reason] is selling drugs in big quantities. If you murder, yes. If you’re in a gang, [you’ll also get the death penalty]. If you’re some sort of mobster, and you kill a lot of people. Rape and obviously the branches of rape so pedophilia and that sort of thing.”
VT: Are you for or against the death penalty?
“I am 100% against the death penalty because I don’t believe in killing someone for killing. You’re essentially doing the same thing. I also went into this field because I thought I’d be able to save some people from the death sentence. I don’t like playing God. That’s my point of view.”
“Anyone who committed a [horrific] crime to the extent where they’d need the death penalty would probably have some sort of mental disorder and that needs to be addressed rather than just killing the person. They might be able to be saved and start a new life.”
VT: Have you encountered any cases where an innocent has wrongly been executed?
“I haven’t had any of those cases yet, but I have heard of such cases. It’s very unfortunate. That’s why I feel like they should repeal, and why there should be a lot of time between evaluating the person and the death sentence.”
“When they send over someone for me to assess, I only get 45 days to see if they are sane or insane, and if they’re fit for trail. I just don’t think that’s enough. If you have something such as bipolar, [a psychologist] would need a lot time to diagnose that.”