UK & World News

  • 12 August 2014, 12:05

Egypt Leaders 'Not Willing To Provide Justice'

August 14, 2013, was the bloodiest day in Egypt's modern history.

Two sit-ins in Cairo by supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi were forcibly removed by the army and police.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW) more than 800 protesters were killed in just a few hours.

Sky's Mick Deane was among four journalists killed that morning. He was filming a group of women who were gathered near a mosque when he was shot dead.

The Egyptian government claims the protesters were armed and shot at security forces, but rights groups say the officers used excessive force against largely peaceful protesters, including women and children.

Now, HRW has released a report detailing what they describe as the methodical and systematic killing of over 1,000 people last summer by Egyptian security forces.

The report, entitled All According to Plan: The Rabaa Massacre and Mass Killings of Protesters in Egypt, is the result of a year-long investigation involving over 200 witnesses who were interviewed and the examination of physical evidence.

The report concludes that the killings were "meticulously planned at the highest levels".  

In fact, HRW identified more than a dozen of the most senior leaders in the chain of command - including the current president, Abdel Fattah al Sisi.

The report also points out that a year on, not a single police or army officer has been held accountable.

The findings may mean that crimes against humanity were committed. Egyptian authorities have been given a copy of the report by HRW but have yet to respond to the findings.

The sit-ins at Rabaa and Nahda squares in Cairo, organised by the Muslim Brotherhood, were in response to the Army's overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi last July following a wave of protests against his rule. 

Their violent removal marked the start of an unprecedented crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood and other opposition forces in Egypt.

Tens of thousands were arrested and hundreds, including Muslim Brotherhood leaders, have since been sentenced to death.

HRW directors, hoping to launch their report in Cairo, were denied entry to Egypt on Monday and deported on arrival for the first time in the organisation's history.

Authorities did not explain their decision but said they were refused entry for "security reasons".

In a statement, HRW executive director Kenneth Roth said: "We came to Egypt to release a serious report on a serious subject that deserves serious attention from the Egyptian government.

"Instead of denying the messenger entry to Egypt, the authorities should seriously consider our conclusions and recommendations and respond with constructive action."

But the move is yet another sign of the Egyptian government's growing intolerance to criticism at a time when they claim the country is in a transition to democracy. 

For the thousands who lost loved ones last summer, the report may offer some answers as to what happened and who was responsible. 

But holding those people to account is not, it seems, the kind of justice Egypt is willing to provide right now.

Advertisement