Several Egyptian human rights groups on Saturday claimed that the number of people killed in political violence in the summer after the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi was more than twice as many as those killed in the protests to oust Hosni Mubarak.
According to a report issued by the rights groups, a total of 2,665 people died between July and October 2013 in incidents including terrorist violence.
The figure includes 2,273 people killed at political events, 32 in sectarian clashes, 3 in social protests, 62 while in the custody of authorities, 16 due to excess use of violence from security, 200 in terrorist attacks, 18 during security crackdowns, and 61 due to the negligence of authorities.
Those killed include 11 journalists, 8 doctors, 51 women, 118 minors, 211 students, 174 policemen, and 70 military personnel.
The report, signed by 14 rights groups and published at a press conference on Saturday, argues that the current authorities, who replaced Mohamed Morsi after his ouster in July, are continuing the tactics of the previous government.
“Instead of reforming the mayhem caused by their predecessors and doing what is required to introduce radical reforms to the structure of the state in order to perform its part in the service of the citizen, they turned towards the Muslim Brothers’ practices, including incitement and terrorising people” the report read.
The report estimated the number of those killed during the 2011 protests which led to the ouster of Hosni Mubarak to be 1,075 and the numbers killed by political violence during the period of military rule which followed to be 438. The number killed under Morsi’s presidency was 470.
“The rhetoric of the new regime described it as the authentic representative of the Egyptian people in all walks of life, the protector of genuine Egyptian identity, and Egypt’s saviour from the clutches of the Muslim Brothers. However, if we test the discourse on the ground, we will discover that the officials currently in charge of managing the state do not deviate from the approach of their predecessors,” the report added.
The report said that torture continues against political detainees, “from the moment of arrest, during the detention period and then in prison.”
The report also highlighted violence against the press, stating that between 26 June and 26 August 2013 the Arab Network for Human Rights Information had detected 112 cases of violations against the press.
Nine journalists were killed, five channels were closed and four media offices stormed in the period. The report also stated 52 cases of physical assaults, 27 arrests and 13 cases of confiscations and bans. Those committing the violations include security forces, unknown assailants, Brotherhood supporters and Brotherhood opponents.
The independence of the prosecution was also questioned in the report, which stated that prosecutors depends on police complaints in issuing arrest and detention orders despite their official recognition that these complaints are not sufficient. In addition, the prosecution focuses on investigating evidence of guilt and rarely tries to prove innocence, stated the report.
“They (authorities) continue to promote the premise that the country is in a state of war on terror and that terrorism is represented by the Muslim Brothers...to use it as an excuse and a pretext to infringe upon human rights and even silence critical voices and brand them treasonous,” said the report.
“Since 3 July, we have witnessed rising and widespread waves of terror and violence; terrorism is no longer limited to Sinai but bombings and explosions extended to reach the vicinity of security sites that supposedly are safe,” it added, arguing that the state has also failed to fight terrorism.
The groups also condemned the new protest law which requires permits from authorities as an example of how the regime continues to violate international rights agreements and suppress opposition.
The press conference comes in the wake of several recent prosecutions of high profile non-Islamist activists for involvement in protests. Ahmed Maher, Mohamed Adel and Ahmed Douma received sentences of three years, while Alexandrian activists Mahinour El-Masry and Hassan Mostafa were sentenced on Saturday to two years in jail on similar charges.
Prominent blogger and activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah will stand trial on Sunday on charges of torching the headquarters of politician Ahmed Shafiq, who ran for the presidency in 2012. Abdel-Fattah denies the accusation.
The rights groups that signed the report include the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), Nadeem Centre for the Rehabilitation of Torture Victims, the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre (HMLC), Nazra for Feminist Studies, Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, the No to Military Trials campaign, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights, among others.