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Egypt

    July 08, 2013

    Amnesty International is calling for an urgent independent investigation into the reported deaths of at least 51 people outside the Republican Guard headquarters today.

    “There is a crucial need for independent and impartial investigations that can be trusted by all sides. However, Egypt’s authorities have a poor track record of delivering truth and justice for human rights violations,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    “Past military investigations have white-washed army abuses, and the authorities have buried the conclusions of a fact-finding report they ordered into protester-killings, refusing to make it public. Egypt’s Public Prosecution has spent more time charging government critics than it has prosecuting the police and army for human rights violations.”

    July 03, 2013

    With the ousting of President Morsi in Egypt, Amnesty International urges the security forces, including the army, to do all within their power to protect the human rights and safety of everyone in Egypt, regardless of their political affiliation.

    The armed forces and the police in Egypt have a well documented record of human rights violations which must not be repeated. The army stated that it will deal with any acts of violence with the “utmost force and determination”.

    “In this time of great tension and with the constitution suspended, it is more important than ever that the military comply with Egypt’s obligations under international human rights law,” said Salil Shetty, General Secretary of Amnesty International.

    "There has already been a blow to freedom of expression, with several TV channels which supported the President silenced and staff reportedly arrested immediately after his overthrow. Amid fears of possible reprisals and revenge attacks against supporters of President Morsi, along with the worrying trend of mob violence and sexual assaults on women this is a time for extreme caution."

    July 03, 2013

    The political turmoil in Egypt left at least 36 people dead and hundreds injured since 30 June, amid security forces failure to prevent or defuse the violence. On Tuesday, the bloodiest day of clashes, 21 people were killed according to officials of the prosecution investigating the violence. The casualties included both supporters and opponents of the President.  

    July 03, 2013

    Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Egypt researcher, blogs from Cairo

    While the world is focusing on the political fall-out of millions of people taking to the streets in Egypt, with widespread calls for the resignation of President Mohamed Morsi, and the army taking over, other stomach-turning developments have passed virtually unnoticed: Women and girls protesting in the vicinity of Tahrir Square are, time and time again, being sexually attacked by mobs, with authorities remaining idle.

    This is not a new phenomenon.

    Testimonies from women caught up in the demonstrations, survivors from previous protests and those trying to help, point to a horrific chain of events: tens if not hundreds of men surround their victims, tearing-off their clothes and veils, unzipping trousers, groping breasts and backsides. Sticks, blades and other weapons are frequently used in such attacks.

    May 10, 2013

    Amnesty's Egypt Researcher Diana Eltahawy blogs from Cairo

    Today I attended the first hearing in the trial of 12 people, including three leading activists, at a Dar Al Qadaa Al-Ali court. They are accused of attacking and burning the campaign headquarters of former presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq on 28 May 2012.

    Amnesty International fears that the activists are being pursued in a politically motivated case, which comes amid the Egyptian authorities’ crackdown on freedom of expression and dissent.

    May 03, 2013

    “It’s ironic that May 3rd is World Press Freedom Day and I’m facing trial the next day just for posting a video.” Egyptian blogger Ahmed Anwar

    In Egypt, making fun of the authorities is no laughing matter. It’s a criminal offence.

    When blogger Ahmed Anwar posted a video of belly-dancing policemen on-line, he expected to get some laughs. Instead, he’s on trial for “criticizing” the Interior Ministry and “misusing” the Internet.

    In March 2012, Ahmed Anwar posted a video on-line which made fun of police officers giving an award to an actress, calling them “the ministry of belly dancers”.  The video, showing police officers dancing, criticizes police brutality and impunity for human rights abuses. The Tanta Public Prosecution bought a case against him after the Ministry of Interior complained about the video. Ahmed Anwar was arrested by police at his house on March 17, 2013 and referred for trial ten days later. His trial started on May 4. The next hearing is scheduled for June 1.

    April 16, 2013

    President Mohamed Morsi should release the findings of an official investigation he instigated into abuses against protesters without delay and ensure the armed forces are not above the law and are held accountable for abuses, Amnesty International said today.

    Amnesty International is alarmed that statements by the authorities in response to part of the report being leaked effectively signal that impunity will continue for human rights violations by the army.

    The organization has also expressed its dismay over apparent claims by Egypt’s Public Prosecutor that the full report contained no evidence of army abuse – despite the fact that leaked excerpts of the report clearly detail human rights violations by Egypt’s military.

    Amnesty International and other groups have documented abuses by the Egyptian army since the beginning of the “25 January Revolution”.

    President Morsi appointed a fact-finding committee in July 2012 and charged it with investigating abuses against protesters committed between the start of the uprising on 25 January 2011 and the end of military rule on 30 June 2012.

    April 08, 2013

    Amnesty's Egypt researcher Diana Eltahawy blogs from Cairo

    On Sunday I attended the Cairo funeral of four Coptic Christians killed on Friday night in Khousous, a small town north of the city.

    I had been planning to travel to Khousous to find out more about the sectarian violence which led to the deaths there.

    Instead, I found myself caught up in more violence at the funeral itself — with mourners on one side, and unknown assailants and, later, security forces on the other.

    Before the clashes erupted, feelings of grief, anger and injustice were palpable inside Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo, which was filled with mourners. Tears, prayers and wailing were drowned out by chants against the government and the Muslim Brotherhood, and vows to avenge the dead.

    Shortly after the caskets and funeral procession made their way out of the cathedral, violence broke out nearby between some of the mourners and assailants reported to be residents of the area.

    February 01, 2013

    Amnesty International's Egypt researcher Diana Eltahawy writes from Cairo.

    Almost every girl and woman – regardless of age, social status or choice of attire – who has walked the streets or taken public transport in Cairo, has experienced some form of verbal or physical sexual harassment.

    This isn’t new. For years, Egyptian women’s rights activists and others have called on the authorities to recognize the seriousness of the problem.

    There needs to be a fundamental shift in institutionalized attitudes that discriminate against women.

    The Egyptian authorities must introduce legal reforms, prosecute perpetrators and address root causes, because the plight of women who have experienced sexual violence has been ignored.

    Blame is placed on the victims for being dressed “indecently”, or for daring to be present in “male” public spaces.

    The horrific testimonies emerging following protests commemorating the second anniversary of the “25 January Revolution” have brought to light how violent mob sexual attacks against women have happened, but have rarely been brought to public attention.

    January 31, 2013

    Violent clashes between protesters and security forces have claimed at least 38 lives in Port Said.

    Amnesty International researcher Diana Eltahawy is in Egypt and has collected testimony that points to the use of excessive force by the security forces as unrest continues.

    She said: “It’s quite clear from the testimony I’ve gathered that security forces have been guilty of excessive force including the use of firearms when lives have not been directly in danger.

    “The culture of impunity that has built up in Egypt over decades remains and we are calling for full, independent and thorough investigations to bring those who committed crimes to justice.”

    Now back in Cairo, Diana Eltahawy is available for interview.

    Timeline of testimony gathered in Port Said by Amnesty International

    26 January

    January 30, 2013

     

    Violent clashes between protesters and security forces have claimed at least 38 lives in Port Said.

    Amnesty International researcher Diana Eltahawy is in Egypt and has collected testimony that points to the use of excessive force by the security forces as unrest continues.

    She said: “It’s quite clear from the testimony I’ve gathered that security forces have been guilty of excessive force including the use of firearms when lives have not been directly in danger.

    “The culture of impunity that has built up in Egypt over decades remains and we are calling for full, independent and thorough investigations to bring those who committed crimes to justice.”

    Now back in Cairo, Diana Eltahawy is available for interview.

       Timeline of testimony gathered in Port Said by Amnesty International

    January 28, 2013

    Eyewitness accounts collected by Amnesty International in Egypt point to the unnecessary use of lethal force by security forces during a weekend of clashes with demonstrators.

    After three days of violence that claimed at least 45 lives and led to more than 1,000 injured, Amnesty International called for end to excessive force by security forces, and urged the Egyptian security forces to refrain from using lethal force unless it is unavoidable to protect life.

    A researcher from Amnesty International investigating killings in Suez collected disturbing eyewitness accounts of excessive force, including in some instances security forces using lethal force when it was not strictly necessary to protect life, including when protestors did not pose an imminent threat to them or others.

    The security forces also breached Egyptian legislation which, while falling short of international standards, sets some limits on the use of firearms by police, including requiring the issuing of audible warnings and aiming at the feet.

    January 23, 2013

    Egypt must ensure the deaths of hundreds of protesters since early 2011 are independently and effectively investigated, if the country is to move away from the abuses that defined the Mubarak-era, said Amnesty International in a briefing published to coincide with the second anniversary of the start of the “25 January Revolution”.

    The briefing, Rampant impunity: Still no justice for protesters killed in the “25 January Revolution”, details shortcomings in investigations and prosecutions of those responsible for the deaths of some 840 individuals during the demonstrations that ended over 30 years of Hosni Mubarak’s repressive rule and led to the first elected civilian President in Egypt. At least 6,600 people also sustained injuries during the protests, which were brutally suppressed by the security forces.

    At least 12 people have died during protest violence since President Mohamed Morsi took office.

    December 06, 2012
    Demonstrators and security forces outside the presidential palace ©Amnesty International

    From the Amnesty International Egypt team.

    When he took office just a few months ago Mohamed Morsi promised to be the president of all Egyptians.

    But hopes that he would take steps to resolve the current situation and give up the wide-ranging powers that triggered this latest crisis have been dashed after a bitter and bloody night of clashes between the president’s opponents and supporters.

    The clashes followed an attack by the president’s supporters – believed to be largely made up of members of the Muslim Brotherhood – on a sit-in staged by his opponents outside the Presidential Palace in Heliopolis.

    November 29, 2012

    Post by Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa team, on the ground in Cairo.

    Egyptians have returned to Tahrir Square many times since Hosni Mubarak fell, but rarely in these numbers.© Matic Zorman / Demotix

    Egyptians have returned to Tahrir Square many times since Hosni Mubarak fell, but rarely in these numbers.

    After the massive protest on Tuesday 27 November, some are even beginning to talk of a second uprising, a “November revolution”.

    Meanwhile President Morsi’s supporters are planning their response – a gathering in Tahrir on Saturday raising fears of clashes between the different camps.

    Not long ago, protesters were calling for an end to military rule. Today, large numbers are chanting against President Mohamed Morsi – the country’s first elected president and the man many had hoped would finally restore the rule of law.

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