World Bulletin / News Desk
“Despite claims by the military that protesters attacked first during clashes on Monday and that no women and children were injured, first hand accounts collected by Amnesty International paint a very different picture. Even if some protesters used violence, the response was disproportionate and led to the loss of life and injury among peaceful protesters,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.
The army and Interior Ministry said yesterday that the violence followed an attack by protesters around the Republican Guard Club, and announced that a military officer and two members of the security forces were killed.
However, accounts collected from eyewitnesses contradict this version of events. Amnesty International has visited morgues, hospitals and sites of violence in Cairo and Alexandria to gather testimonies from injured protesters and relatives of victims. Its findings suggest the use of disproportionate force by the security forces, including intentional lethal force. Many of those killed and injured had been shot in the head and upper body with shotgun pellets and live ammunition.
“The Egyptian authorities must end the military and police’s use of grossly disproportionate force. Even when individual protesters use violence, the army must respond proportionately, without killing and injuring those not endangering the lives of the security forces or others. They must ensure an investigation which all sides see as independent and impartial is promptly conducted to ensure any alleged army abuses are not covered up”.
“The Egyptian authorities must also ensure that proper autopsy and medical reports are issued to facilitate thorough investigations and ensure access to justice and reparations.”
A woman in her forties who was wounded on Monday said the violence began at as she finished prayers beside a tent housing women and children. Amnesty International interviewed several other women who had shotgun pellet wounds in the upper body including the back, and a child at a Cairo hospital with wounds in his head, face and legs.
The organization also found that security forces had intervened too late or not at all during clashes between pro and anti Morsi supporters in Cairo and Alexandria on 5 July leading to a loss of life on both sides.
Since last Friday at least 88 people have lost their lives in protests and political violence, including three members of the security forces, with around 1,500 wounded. At least 51 Morsi supporters were killed yesterday during clashes outside the Republican guard headquarters.Last Mod: 10 Temmuz 2013, 14:23