World Bulletin/News Desk
Two leaders of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood denounced a report released Wednesday by a state-appointed "fact-finding" panel that blamed the group for most of the violence that came in the wake of last year's military ouster of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president.
"This biased report is just a charade," Brotherhood leader Gamal Heshmat told The Anadolu Agency.
"It is only meant to give the appearance of a fact-finding probe in order to preempt our calls for an international investigation of the massacres," he said.
Earlier Sunday, a government-appointed "fact-finding" panel largely blamed the Brotherhood and its allies for the death of hundreds of Morsi supporters during the violent dispersal of two pro-Morsi protest encampments in Cairo in the summer of last year.
The panel, headed by by former judge Fouad Riyad, said Brotherhood leaders and their allies who had organized the twin sit-ins had refused to heed "domestic and international" calls to end the demonstration and had supplied some protesters with weapons.
The panel also said that armed protesters had fired first at security forces on August 14 of last year, prompting the latter to clear the twin sit-ins in a bloody, day-long dispersal operation.
The panel, appointed last December by then-interim president Adly Mansour, also blamed the violence on a "lack of focus" on the part of Egyptian security forces, which, the panel asserted, had resulted in greater casualties during the dispersal of the larger sit-in in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya Square.
The report's criticisms of the Egyptian security forces, however, were a far cry from those made in an earlier report by New York-based Human Rights Watch, which accused them of carrying out the "systematic" murder of over 1,000 pro-Morsi protesters in the year following Morsi's ouster.
These included at least 817 gunned down during last summer's dispersal of the Rabaa Square sit-in.
HRW's report, released in August following a year-long investigation, concluded that the killings by Egyptian security forces likely constituted "crimes against humanity."
Mohamed Soudan, a leading member of the Brotherhood's now-dissolved Freedom and Justice Party, said the report – which blamed the Brotherhood for other violent episodes that have taken place since Morsi's ouster – failed to highlight the government's ongoing crackdown on Morsi supporters.
"The report said nothing about girls who have been raped inside police vehicles and in detention centers, nor has it mentioned the 92 opponents of the regime who have died in police custody in recent months," Soudan told AA by phone, defending the Brotherhood's decision not to cooperate with the government-appointed panel over suspicions regarding its integrity.
In the summer of last year, Morsi supporters had staged major sit-ins in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda Squares to protest the elected leader's ouster – after a single year in office – by the army.
The state-run National Council for Human Rights has said the violent dispersal of the twin sit-ins had left 632 people, including eight policemen, dead.
Other local and international human rights groups, however, say the total death toll from last August's sit-in dispersals had exceeded 1,000.
Earlier this week, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi – who is widely regarded as the architect of Morsi's ouster and subsequent imprisonment – received the 800-page report from members of the fact-finding panel.
He has since submitted the document to Egypt's cabinet "for review."
Last Mod: 26 Kasım 2014, 15:28