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Amnesty International calls on Egypt to tackle legacy of abuse

Amnesty International issues a report concerning protesters killed since January 25 Revolution, calling for independent and effective investigations

Ahram Online, Thursday 24 Jan 2013
Amnesty International releases report on security in Egypt
Protesters run from the riot police during clashes at Tahrir square in Cairo November 25, 2012 (Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt must investigate –  independently and effectively – the deaths of hundreds of protesters in demonstrations seen since the revolution in 2011, according to a Thursday press release issued by Amnesty International (AI).

Hosni Mubarak's 30 years of repressive rule took the track of silencing victims of violations by members of the security forces, a legacy the country seems to potentially live back up to if justice is not achieved for the slain protesters, stated the AI Thursday press release.

In a briefing entitled "Rampant impunity: Still no justice for protesters killed in the 25 January revolution," AI mentions flaws in the evidence-gathering process related to achieving justice for these individuals.

The AI briefing also said "justice is needed for human rights abuses committed against protesters. Only then will Egypt be able to break with the legacy of past abuses, and avoid further protestor deaths."

The 18 days of demonstrations in 2011 that led to Mubarak's resignation on 11 February of that year resulted in the death of 840 people and at least 6,600 injured in civilian clashes with the Egyptian security forces.

Dozens of protesters have also died in violent demonstrations since Mohamed Morsi became president in June 2012.

During the clashes with civilians, the security forces had used tear gas, water cannons, rifles and shotguns loaded birdshot against demonstrators, even in cases where the protesters did not constitute a threat to the security forces. The officials and security officers involved in these cases have yet to be convicted or tried for their violations.

Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, said in the AI Thursday press release that, "President Morsi has repeatedly paid tribute to those who died during the ’25 January Revolution,' yet little effective action has been taken to ensure those responsible face justice. In reality, two years after the uprising the security forces appear to be getting away with murder... By not ensuring the perpetrators are punished, President Morsi is doing little to distance himself from a decade of abuses."

Dozens died in clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi at the Presidential Palace on 5 and 6 December 2012. Security forces at the time failed to provide protection for protesters on both sides.

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