Families of Egypt 'martyrs' collect compensation, others protest

Bassem Abo Alabass, Monday 11 Jun 2012

More than 450 families of protesters killed in the last 18 months have received compensation, says finance ministry

Protesters in central Cairo come under fire from tear gas (Photo: Reuters)

Over 450 Egyptian families which saw a member killed during the 18-day anti-Mubarak uprising, or in subsequent unrest, have received $16,500 apiece in compensation, Egypt's Ministry of Finance said on Monday.

The government has already distributed cheques to 458 families, representing 59 per cent of the more than 770 families eligible.
Each family has received LE100,000 ($16,560), paid in two stages, the ministry's spokesman told Ahram Online. 
Combined compensation will eventually be more than LE77 million (around $13 million).
Families began collecting money from the Ministry of Finance in Abbasiya, eastern Cairo last Wednesday. The process is still underway amid chaotic and sometimes passionate scenes.
Sherif Abdel-Aaty, whose brother Ahmed was killed on 28 January 2011, said he waited 15 hours outside the ministry to receive compensation, as some 'martyr' families staged protests.
"I took our compensation on the first day, but there were long queues and I had to wait," he told Ahram Online.
Several families refused to take payment, instead demonstrating outside the building against what they called a "cheap pay-off" by the government to appease popular anger after last weekend's controversial trial verdict for Hosni Mubarak.
Cairo's Criminal Court sentenced the former president and his interior minister, Habib El-Adly, to life in prison for participating in the crime of killing protesters during the early 2011 uprising.
Six senior police chiefs were acquitted, sparking anger among grieving families and hardcore protesters.
Egypt's interim government and ruling military last year agreed to compensate the relatives of those slain during January and February 2011's unrest. 
The initiative has since expanded to include families who lost a member during subsequent battles in front of state TV headquarters last October, near the Ministry of Interior in November and in front of Egypt's Cabinet in December.
The finance ministry said it paid initial installments, worth LE30,000, to families in January 2012. The latest payments comprise the balance of the LE100,000 total.
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