Egypt rights group demands report on Maspero massacre

Ahram Online, Wednesday 9 Oct 2013

Human Rights group demands results of fact-finding committee under Morsi on anniversary of Maspero massacre

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

Two years on, 'We are Following You with the Report' (WFYR) demands justice for the Maspero massacre’s slain on Wednesday, marking the anniversary of the bloody night when 25 civilians were killed in clashes with the army.

“The Maspero massacre started with the failure of the state to secure Egyptians' right to practice their religion and build houses of worship, and ended with the state violating Egyptians' right to life,” read the report, published by the WFYR, an independent Human Rights Group, which aims to pressure state institutions to carry out investigations into crimes committed against citizens by the regime.

On 9 October 2011, a peaceful march by thousands of Coptic and Muslim protesters headed towards the TV headquarters at Maspero near Tahrir Square, to protest the failure of authorities to investigate the burning of a church in Marinab, in the southern governorate of Aswan. The protests turned into deadly clashes with military police, resulting in the deaths of at least 25 protesters and the injury of 329. Video footage from Maspero shows military forces running over several protesters with armoured vehicles.

The WFYR are demanding that results of the fact-finding committee, formed under the ruling of deposed president Mohamed Morsi, are revealed.

On 5 July 2012, former president Morsi ordered the formation of a fact-finding committee to investigate the killings of unarmed protesters since the start of the 25 January uprising, including the Maspero massacre.

The WFYR holds Morsi accountable for the lack of punishment of culprits, as he allegedly ignored the committee’s recommendations and did not disclose the results and evidence of the report, only sending them to the prosecution for further investigation.

“The WFYR were later informed that the public prosecution sent all the reports regarding military personnel to the military judiciary, which did not investigate further,” said a WFYR representative, emphasising that final conclusions on the Maspero massacre were among the reports.

The rights group also demanded results from complaints filed against leaders of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, who ruled following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak and the inauguration of Mohamed Morsi, namely Hussein Tantawi, Sami Anan and Hamdee Badeen.

On the first anniversary of the tragic event in 2012, a report was issued by Amnesty International criticising Egyptian authorities for failure "to conduct a full, impartial and independent investigation into the circumstances of the violence and bring those responsible to account."

In September 2012, three soldiers were convicted of manslaughter for the murder of protesters. The verdict was widely criticised, as all investigations were led by the military.

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