Human rights report calls Egypt's Rabaa al-Adawiya crackdown "brutal and outrageous"

Published March 18th, 2014 - 10:23 GMT
NCHR called the crackdown on the pro-Morsi sit in at Rabaa al-Adaqwiya "outrageous and brutal". (AFP/File)
NCHR called the crackdown on the pro-Morsi sit in at Rabaa al-Adaqwiya "outrageous and brutal". (AFP/File)

The National Council for Human Rights held a press conference on Monday to release its final report on the circumstances that surrounded the dispersal of a pro-Mohamed Morsi protest camp last summer.

The report stressed that it would focus only on "the most brutal and outrageous violations” and is only concerned with the Rabaa Al-Adawiya sit-in in Cairo from 28 June until its dispersal on 14 August, and the violence that followed

According to human rights lawyer and NCHR member Nasser Amin, “ninety-seven percent of the victims [killed during the dispersal] were men, and 98 percent were adults,” said Amin.

In a previous press conference earlier month, Amin had said that a total of 632 people had been killed during the dispersal, including eight police officers. On Monday he added that the dispersal also left 1,492 injured and saw 800 people arrested.

The clashes between the police and the protesters began at 8:10am, with police firing teargas and protesters hurling stones and Molotov cocktails, however the report accused "extremist members" from the protest camp of being armed and using civilians as human shields, which led to deaths and injuries.

The majority of weapons used during the dispersal of pro-Morsi protesters last August were machine guns and Kalashinkovs, Amin said, without giving further details.

Footage was screened at the press conference on Monday showing violations committed by the police who the report accused of firing out of proportion.

One video showed the shooting of Asmaa El-Beltagy, daughter of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed El-Beltagy, and the burning of the corpses of dead protesters. A video showing the police beating protesters they arrested as they left the sit-in was also screened.

There was also footage showing a man being tortured by pro-Morsi protesters at the camp.

NCHR member Abdel-Ghaffar Shukr called on the media to hold serious discussions about the report with all those involved in the incident, particularly the ministry of interior and the Muslim Brotherhood, who had not agreed to speak to the NCHR.

“That will give the Egyptian society an idea of this experience which we hope will never take place again,” said Shukr.

Members of the council has said at their previous press conference that the Ministry of Interior refused to provide them with the dispersal plans, leaving the fact-finding committee to reach conclusions on their own.

Shukr also explained that the NCHR had reached out to members of the pro-Morsi National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, the Freedom and Justice Party, Gamaa Islamiya’s Building and Development Party, and others but they refused to cooperate.

“The main role of the NCHR’s fact-finding committee is to expose what happened and then demand independent judicial investigation,” said Shukr, adding that a copy of the report was sent to the fact-finding committee formed by interim president Adly Mansour in January.

© Copyright Al-Ahram Publishing House

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