Amnesty demands deeper probe of Egypt violence


Egypt’s government must reveal the truth about attacks on demonstrators during an uprising against President Hosni Mubarak, compensate the victims and bring their attackers to justice, said Amnesty International.

In a long report on state repression during the protests, Amnesty said at least 840 people died and over 6,000 were injured, but a commission appointed to probe the violence had not yet named all those killed or described how they died.

The commission found former interior minister Habib al-Adli responsible for the killings of protesters. Adli, hated for the brutality of his police and once seen as untouchable, was jailed for 12 years this month for profiteering and money laundering, Reuters reports.

Amnesty said the commission’s remit was too limited and that publication of full details of the deaths was “essential for the families of victims and society at large to deal with the trauma of what had happened”.

It said the commission did not extensively investigate individual reports of arbitrary detention, torture or other ill treatment. The rights organisation said many victims reported they were abused by soldiers.

Amnesty quoted one witness named Fouad as saying: “As we entered our block we had to lie face down in the courtyard and were beaten … by soldiers. They beat us again with cables and canes and used electric prods.”

People detained during the protests in January and February were tried by military courts, despite being civilians.
“Trials of civilians before military courts violate fundamental requirements of due process and fair trials, and … their continued use raises questions about the Egyptian military’s commitment to establish the rule of law in Egypt,” Amnesty said.

The organization called for further investigation into the deaths of at least 189 prisoners during prison unrest.

Egypt’s prime minister has offered to compensate the relatives of victims of the protest crackdowns. Amnesty said those seriously injured should have their medical costs paid.

It cited a field hospital coordinator in Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the protests, as saying he dealt with around 300 cases of shotgun wounds to the eyes.
“Many hundreds of people who suffered grievous abuses during this period are still waiting to receive justice for what happened to them,” said Amnesty.