Egypt rights body slams HRW over Rabaa report

The National Council for Human Rights said HRW overlooked a pivotal testimony, namely that of a journalist about the death of a policeman upon the eviction of the square on August 14 last year.

Egypt rights body slams HRW over Rabaa report

World Bulletin / News Desk

Egypt's state-run National Council for Human Rights late on Friday said that a recent report by international rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) about last year's dispersal of the eastern Cairo Rabaa Al-Adawiya sit-in contained what it described as "mistakes" and conclusions that are not supported by evidence.

The council said HRW overlooked what it described as a "pivotal" testimony, namely that of a journalist about the death of a police officer upon the eviction of the square on August 14 last year.

It said the killing of the officer opened the door for an exchange of fire between policemen and the supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

It added that HRW did not mention human rights violations committed by the people staging the sit-in, including the kidnapping and the torture of opponents as well as their use of some sit-in participants as "human shields."

The council said in documenting the events that accompanied the sit-in dispersal, the international rights group listened to the accounts of people who did not participate in the sit-in.

Even with this, the National Council for Human Rights reiterated its criticism of the Interior Ministry for its failure to provide safe exits for sit-in participants who wanted to leave the square and go home.

On August 12, HRW accused Egyptian security forces of "systematic" killing of 1,150 demonstrators, including at least 817 during the dispersal of the Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in alone, suggesting the killings probably amount to crimes against humanity.

"In Rabaa Square, Egyptian security forces carried out one of the world's largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history," HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth said in a new report based on a year-long investigation.

"This wasn't merely a case of excessive force or poor training," he added.

"It was a violent crackdown planned at the highest levels of the Egyptian government," insisted Kenneth Roth.

"Many of the same officials are still in power in Egypt, and have a lot to answer for," he said.

The New York-based rights group said that security forces, who were following a plan that envisioned several thousand deaths, killed a minimum of 817 and more likely at least 1000 Rabaa demonstrators.

The 195-page report, entitled "All According to Plan: The Rabaa Massacre and Mass Killings of Protesters in Egypt," documents how police and army personnel opened fire on crowds of protesters opposed to the military's July 3 ouster of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first elected civilian president, during six demonstrations between July 5 and August 17, 2013.

It confirmed that some protesters had used firearms during a few instances, insisting that this does not "justify the grossly disproportionate and premeditated lethal attacks on overwhelmingly peaceful protesters."

HRW asserted in its report that Egyptian authorities had failed to hold even a single low-level policeman or army officer accountable for any of the violence – let alone the officials responsible for ordering them – and continued to brutally suppress dissent.

Last Mod: 23 Ağustos 2014, 09:31
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