Army should not lead investigation into Maspero: Govt Council on Human Rights

Nada Hussein Rashwan, Wednesday 2 Nov 2011

Egypt’s official human rights body issues a report on deadly 9 October Maspero clashes and calls for an investigation by an independent body, not the ruling military council

Egyptian Christians clash with soldiers and riot police during a protest against an attack on a church in southern Egypt, in Cairo 9 October 2011 (Photo: Reuters)

The Egyptian National Council on Human Rights (NCHR) has recommended in its report on the deadly Maspero clashes that an independent investigation should be conducted in the matter, apart from the investigation currently underway by the Military Prosecution, since any impartial “investigation would necessarily involve accusations to some Armed Forces officials of murder, run-overs, and assault against citizens at the site of events.”

NCHR, the official state body which oversees human rights in the country, issued its report on the Maspero Bloody Sunday incidents at a press conference it held on Wednesday.

The report said that NCHR is fearful the fact-finding committee formed by the Cabinet in the wake of the events might be partial since it is headed by its minister of Justice.

It went on to call for an investigative body independent of both the cabinet and the military authorities to examine the clashes , stressing that such a body should have “unrestricted access to information."

The report highlighted that government officials had blocked NCHR's access to certain information during its investigation of the matter.

NCHR's report also recommended that State Television’s coverage of the events should be the subject of a criminal investigation for "inciting against Copts."

In NCHR's own breakdown of the events, the report suggests an “unidentified” third party targeted both peaceful protesters and the military police using live ammunition and other light weapons, and that the military did not use live ammunition, but only “blanks in the air to disperse protesters.”

The deadly Maspero clashes on the night of Sunday 9 October left at least 26 dead, mostly civilians, and more than 300 injured.

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