Annual Report: Egypt 2013

Report
May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Egypt 2013

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  • Security forces used lethal force without prior warning to disperse protesters, killing 16 protesters between 2 and 6 February in Cairo and Suez. The protests were in reaction to the killing of some 70 Al-Ahly football supporters by men in plain clothes during a match in Port Said, witnessed by security forces that did not prevent the violence.
  • Between 28 April and 4 May, at least 12 people were killed by men in plain clothes during a sit-in in Abbaseya Square, Cairo, in protest at the presidential election process. Security forces did not intervene, suggesting that the men acted at the army’s command or with their acquiescence.
  • On 20 November, teenage protester Gaber Salah Gaber was reportedly shot dead by security forces near the Ministry of the Interior in Cairo.

Impunity

In a historic step towards combating impunity, in June, former President Mubarak and former Minister of Interior Habib El Adly were found responsible for the killing and injury of protesters during the 2011 uprising and sentenced to life imprisonment. However, six senior security officials were acquitted. The prosecution argued that the lack of evidence against them was due to a lack of co-operation from General Intelligence and the Ministry of Interior.

Most police officers put on trial in relation to killings of protesters during the 2011 uprising were acquitted. Courts generally ruled that police used justified lethal force, or that evidence was insufficient. Truth and justice remained elusive for hundreds of victims of the uprising and their families.

In October, all defendants were acquitted in the “Battle of the Camels” trial in relation to clashes between pro- and anti-Mubarak protesters in Tahrir Square in February 2011. Subsequently, members of the Public Prosecution suggested that the case would be reopened.

No army members were brought to justice in relation to killings or torture during the Mohamed Mahmoud Street protests and Cabinet Offices protests in November and December 2011. Civilian investigative judges instead referred protesters to stand trial for alleged violence. Those accused in the Mohamed Mahmoud Street protests were amnestied, but the Cabinet Offices trial continued. Only one riot police officer stood trial for abuses committed during the Mohamed Mahmoud Street protests. His trial continued at the end of the year.

In September, a military court sentenced two army soldiers to two years’ imprisonment each, and a third soldier to three years’ imprisonment, for “involuntary homicide” for driving their armoured vehicle into 14 Coptic protesters in October 2011 in Maspero, Cairo. Investigations by civilian judges into the killings of 13 others failed to identify perpetrators. No SCAF members faced justice for the killings of protesters during their 17-month rule.

In July, President Morsi set up a fact-finding committee of officials, civil society activists and victims’ families to identify the perpetrators of the killing and injury of protesters during the 2011 uprising and the SCAF’s rule.

No measures were taken to provide justice, truth or reparation to victims of serious human rights violations, including torture, carried out under President Mubarak’s 30-year rule.

Freedoms of expression and association

There were ongoing criminal investigations and charges for blasphemy and insulting public officials. New constitutional provisions restricted freedom of expression, prohibiting insults against individuals or religious prophets. Draft legislation restricted freedom of association and imposed repressive rules on registration and foreign funding for NGOs.