Monday, November 4, 2013

Human Rights Watch: Egypt does not investigate killings of protesters

Egypt´s authorities have yet to announce any move to investigate security force killings of protesters on October 6, 2013. Almost four weeks after police used lethal force to break up protests by Muslim Brotherhood supporters, the authorities have not said they have questioned, or intend to question, security forces about their use of firearms that day, Human Rights Watch said in a report issued on 2 November. The clashes left 57 people dead throughout Egypt, according to the Health Ministry, with no police deaths reported.
Throughout the past three months, in spite of over 1,300 people killed during demonstrations, the authorities have not established a fact-finding committee or attempted to rein in security services. However, when it comes to violence by protesters prosecutors have arrested, investigated, and prosecuted protesters for assault and use of violence. The government should prosecute its agents who injure or kill people while using unjustifiable levels of force, Human Rights Watch said.

Human Rights Watch interviewed 23 witnesses to the three major clashes in Cairo on October 6. Fourteen of the witnesses saw events in the western Cairo district of Dokki, six in the Ramses Square area, and three in Garden City. Human Rights Watch also reviewed extensive video footage of the events. The evidence indicates that the police resorted to live gunfire on demonstrators in situations that were not life-threatening.While some protesters threw stones and Molotov cocktails at the police, all 23 witnesses said they did not observe any protesters using or carrying firearms before the police opened fire on them.
Human Rights Watch visited Cairo’s main morgue and saw the bodies of six people the morgue authorities indicated had been killed in the October 6 clashes. A source in the Forensic Medical Authority told Human Rights Watch that live ammunition caused the death of 44 of the 49 people whose bodies were handled by morgues in Cairo and Giza, and that birdshot killed the other 5. The source told Human Rights Watch that 20 had fatal wounds to the chest, 17 to the head, 6 to the stomach, 4 to the limbs, and 2 to multiple places on the body, and that 1 minor was among those killed.

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