Thursday, May 19, 2011

Documented 840 deaths during the crackdown on protests in Egypt

Amnesty International (AI) has said that at least 840 people were killed by security forces during the mass protests that ended last February with the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak has called on Egyptian authorities to ensure justice for "all victims" of repression. The human rights organization has launched this week a new report on the killings, arrests and torture perpetrated by security forces because of the so-called revolution of 25 January.

The paper was published two days before the trial begins against the then Interior Minister Habib el Adli, on charges related to the killing of demonstrators. Amnesty International has presented its findings to the prosecutor to serve as support for research on human rights violations. In its report, Amnesty International welcomes the fact that the Egyptian authorities have begun to demand accountability from some of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of Human Rights, as the prosecution of public officials allegedly responsible for excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrators is a critical first step.

" Nevertheless, it continued, the response of the authorities "should go much further, as the families of the victims or people who were seriously injured or suffered arbitrary detention and torture by the police and the army are entitled to they provide "the truth about what happened, adequate compensation and assurances that those responsible will be prosecuted." The report contains evidence of the "excessive use of force" and "blatant disregard for life" by security forces in their attempt to "disband and put down the protests against former President Hosni Mubarak," said Amnesty.

Many demonstrators said, died from gunshots to the upper body - like head and chest - which would indicate that security forces attacked "selectively protesters posed no threat" or at least did "absolutely irresponsible use of firearms." Apart from the dead, "more than 6,000 people were injured in the protests, some permanent," said Amnesty.

Although, on 16 February, former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq said it would compensate the families of those who had died during protests, Amnesty International considers that the authorities should also help victims of serious injury or take care of medical expenses and regretted this regard, the Government has not yet fulfilled their commitment to help the injured protesters.

The committee appointed by the Egyptian government to investigate the protests made public on April 14 a summary of his report, he considered responsible for the former interior minister of the killings of demonstrators. In this regard, although the general conclusions of the commission are "positive", Amnesty has complained that the agency has not published a complete list of those killed in the demonstrations, including the circumstances of his death, which, according to AI, is "essential for the families of the victims and society as a whole to overcome the trauma of what happened." Besides, the committee also conducted extensive research into individual cases of arbitrary detention, torture or other ill-treatment, nor discussed the abuses committed by the army.

In preparing its report, Amnesty International has documented numerous cases of torture in custody during the protests, including beating with sticks or whips, electric shock - even on sensitive body parts - submission to awkward postures for long periods, insults and threats of rape. Many victims told Amnesty International that they had been tortured by soldiers.

Moreover, the report says, many of those arrested during the riots were tried in military courts even though they were civilians, a practice that violates the "basic requirements of due process and fair trials." The fact that they keep doing, the court warned, "raises doubts about the commitment of the Egyptian Army in favor of establishing the rule of law." The organization also has asked to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of at least 189 inmates during prison riots.

Among the "hundreds of people who suffered grave abuses of their human rights during this period" and that "still waiting for justice" are "relatives of prisoners who were killed illegally," he said. The AI report also calls on the Egyptian authorities to leave state institutions to be "instruments of repression and obstacles to justice," a review of the laws "that allow them to commit human rights violations" and are taken appropriate measures "to ensure that such abuses are not repeated."

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