In Egypt, hundreds killed in a year of bloodshed

Many hundreds of Egyptians were killed when security forces used bulldozers and live ammunition to clear tens of thousands of protesters camped out in Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda squares.

In Egypt, hundreds killed in a year of bloodshed

World Bulletin/News Desk

Egyptian police arrested 29-year-old Sherif Siam while clearing a Cairo protest camp one year ago. Four days later, he and 36 others suffocated in a packed police van on the way to jail.

On the same day as Siam's arrest, policeman Mohamed Abdel Aziz, 22, was shot in the shoulder while breaking up a second sit-in on the other side of the capital. He died a week later.

One year since Egyptian security forces stormed two Cairo camps, killing hundreds of protesters demanding the reinstatement of elected President Mohamed Mursi, Egyptians remain deeply divided over the future of their country.

The crackdown on Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood has knocked the group from dominance and driven it underground, while the general who ousted the elected leader following protests against his rule is now president himself.

"The murderers are Sisi and (Interior Minister) Mohamed Ibrahim. They gave the orders. They are the ones responsible, not the ones who executed the orders," Siam's father Gamal said.

The Cairo University professor, 68, gets teary-eyed when speaking about his son. Mother Eman, still clad in the black of mourning, frequently bursts into tears as they describe the blackened, swollen corpse they found at the morgue.

They say Sherif was not a Muslim Brotherhood member but had gone to the Rabaa sit-in, where he was detained and later transported in the overcrowded police van where he died.

"Some of our friends... do not sympathise with us. They say: 'He went to Rabaa, why did he go there?'," Gamal said. "We try to convince them that it is a life lost, but everything is political. It's 'With Sisi or against Sisi.'"

Many hundreds of Egyptians were killed when security forces used bulldozers and live ammunition to clear tens of thousands of protesters camped out in Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda squares.

Over the past year, hundreds of Brotherhood members have been sentenced to death in mass trials that have drawn condemnation from Western governments and human rights groups.

Coffee tables in the Siam home, not far from Rabaa al-Adawiya where he was detained a year ago, are covered with photo albums and framed pictures of Sherif.

A court sentenced the officer in charge of the van in which he died to 10 years in jail, but then ordered a retrial. The officer, and three junior policemen who received suspended sentences, are the only people punished to date in connection with the government crackdown in July and August 2013.

The parents of Siam, who was at the other protest, said their son went to help the wounded on the day of its dispersal.

"I want to say more but what can I say? I am one of many mothers suffering," she said in sobs.

"Never will things be OK. I miss the taste of life. I wish I would die myself," added his father.

Last Mod: 14 Ağustos 2014, 17:30
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