Contact: Suzanne Trimel, [email protected], 212-633-4150, @strimel
(New York) — Amnesty International said today that Hosni Mubarak's conviction and life sentence shows that no one is above the law, but the organization urged that for justice to be served, the full truth of what happened to victims killed and wounded during last year’s uprising — and who ordered the killings — must be exposed.
Mubarak’s former minister of interior, Habib Adly, was also sentenced to life on the same charges stemming from the killing of protesters during last year’s uprising. However, the acquittal of six senior security officials, including the former head of the now-disbanded State Security Investigations service (SSI), leaves many waiting for justice to be delivered, Amnesty International said. Upon hearing the verdict, many in the court room started shouting “the people want to clean up the judiciary,” unsatisfied that all the other defendants were acquitted.
Corruption charges against two of Mubarak’s sons, Gamal and Alaa, and his business associate Hussein Salem, who was tried in absentia, were dropped.
Amnesty International called for an independent and impartial commission of inquiry to undercover the truth that the court failed to establish and urged institutional and legal reforms to counter Egypt's entrenched impunity for human rights violations.
“For 30 years, Hosni Mubarak ruled Egypt with a ruthless hand. His security forces were given free reign to kill, torture and imprison people,” said Suzanne Nossel, executive director, Amnesty International USA. “This conviction shows that no one is above the law, and sends a strong message that human rights abuses will be punished. We regret that the truth about exactly what happened is left in the dark and that the families of those killed are still uncertain what happened to their loved ones. This is not the full measure of justice.”
Nossel added: “At this moment, we should also be mindful of the fact that for 30 years successive U.S. administrations provided arms and support to the very Egyptian security forces that routinely violated human rights.”
The trial itself failed to establish exactly who was responsible for ordering the shooting of protesters during the uprising that began in January 2011, the organization said.
Some 840 protesters were killed and more than 6,000 injured during the uprising that forced Mubarak to step down on February 11, 2011.
The prosecution said in its pleadings that it received too little cooperation from the General Intelligence's national security unit and the Ministry of Interior for it to gather more evidence.
Throughout the various sessions of the trials, many family members were not allowed into the court room and on some occasions they were subjected to police beatings and intimidation. At other times, they clashed with pro-Mubarak supporters.
Amnesty International said the lack of cooperation by the authorities with the prosecution was a missed opportunity to establish the full truth about what happened during the 18-day uprising and afterwards.
The verdict will send a strong signal that human rights violations will not be tolerated in the future and that no one is above the law.
At the same time the judgment shows that serious human rights violations can and must be addressed without recourse to the death penalty, contrary to requests by the prosecution.
In the Egyptian legal criminal system, Mubarak and others have a right to appeal before Egypt's highest court, the Court of Cassation, which will review the application of the law and the procedures but will not re-examine the factual evidence presented.
Throughout Mubarak's reign, human rights violations were committed with impunity, especially by officers of the now dissolved State Security Investigations agency. By convicting Mubarak for his part in the killing of protesters, the court sends a strong signal that those responsible for such violations will be held to account.
In contrast, over the last year many police officers directly accused of killing protesters during the uprising were acquitted, triggering anger and frustration from relatives of the victims and complaints that the justice system after the January 25 Revolution is continuing to fail them.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.
For more information, visit www.amnestyusa.org
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