Last Updated: Friday, 26 August 2016, 16:36 GMT

Egypt: ARTICLE 19 condemns the killings of scores of pro-Morsi protesters while clearing peaceful sit-ins in Cairo

Publisher Article 19
Publication Date 19 August 2013
Cite as Article 19, Egypt: ARTICLE 19 condemns the killings of scores of pro-Morsi protesters while clearing peaceful sit-ins in Cairo, 19 August 2013, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/521208624.html [accessed 28 August 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

In the early morning of 14 August 2013, Egyptian security forces started to clear the Muslim Brotherhood's six week long sit-ins in Rabaa Mosque Square in Nasr City, east of Cairo, and Nahda Square. The sit-ins had been set up by protesters demonstrating against the removal on 3 July of elected President Mohammed Morsi , his continuing detention and the suspension of the 2012 Constitution.

As result of the violent intervention by the security forces, unconfirmed numbers of civilians have reportedly been killed by live ammunition, and a higher number of civilians have been seriously injured. According to the BBC the Egyptian Ministry of Health has reported 95 people killed and nearly 400 injured. The Ministry of the Interior has also reported that six security officers have been killed by armed protesters. For the Muslim Brotherhood, a massacre has been committed resulting in the killings of some 500 protesters.

Unrest has also spread to other parts of Egypt where, allegedly, three Coptic Churches have been burned and government buildings, including police stations, have been attacked by pro-Morsi supporters.

News reports have confirmed the killing of British cameraman for Sky News, Mick Deane, and that of Dubai-based reporter Habiba Ahmed Abd Elaziz, staff reporter for XPRESS, a sister publication of Gulf News. Both journalists were shot and killed when reporting.

News reports have also confirmed the detention by the security forces of five journalists for more than four hours at the Rabaa Mosque Square, including Mick Julian of US based News Week. They were released after their camera equipment was checked and confiscated. Several leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood movement were also arrested.

"ARTICLE 19 condemns in the strongest terms possible the killings of protesters in Cairo Rabaa Mosque and Nahda squares and the use of excessive and disproportionate force by the security force.

For over a month now, the threat of, and use of force against the Muslim Brotherhood protesters has led to nothing else but further and deepening divisions and mistrust in Egypt and increasing violence. The country is further away today from addressing the political and human rights crisis, than it was on the eve of the military intervention of July 3rd.

The appalling scenes in Cairo today were predictable, and so is the massive number of casualties, number that is likely to rise in the days and weeks to come. The killings were brought about by the military coup of 3 July, itself preceded by one year of bad governance and attacks on fundamental freedoms. The logical outcome of the events of the last month has been sadly unfolding: a spiral of increasing sectarian violence and mass killings and the nominal return of the Army to power, signifying the failure of the first phase of democratic transition post Arab Spring.

The State of Emergency is not only unlikely to bring about any solution to the political crisis in Egypt, it could well and on its own deepen it even further away from the democratic ideals of the 2011 protesters in Tahir Square. Indeed, one of the achievements of the 2011 revolution had been the lifting of the state of emergency that had been in place in the country for decades and under which the Egyptian authorities had arbitrarily detained people who spoke out, tortured them, and censored independent news.

What are required are real, meaningful and authentic steps towards a serious national dialogue inclusive of all political forces and movements. Getting out of the political impasse and moving away from the logic of further violence must begin with the release of President Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders, and their active and fearless participation to the dialogue, along with that of all representative members of Egyptian society. It may also require urgent external good office and support to national dialogue." said Dr Agnes Callamard, executive director of ARTICLE 19.

ARTICLE 19 calls on the Egyptian Interim government and Army to:

Lift the state of emergency and fully comply with applicable international law;

In any case, ensure that the right to freedom of expression and information of all is fully protected and guaranteed. The rights of journalists and the media must be protected and they should be allowed to report without fear and censorship;

Fully respect their obligation under international law which clearly state that even in time of emergency, authorities must protect the right to life and freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This means that the state must refrain from arbitrarily detaining people, torturing them, engaging in other reprisals against them, or denying them their right to fair trial;

Immediately release former President Morsi and all other political prisoners;

Take meaningful and trustworthy steps towards initiating a national dialogue inclusive of all political forces and civil society;

Cease the shutting down of pro-Morsi satellite stations, and the tight censorship on the state broadcasting;

Conduct a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into the excessive use of force, including the killing of protestors and the killings of the two journalists;

Investigate sectarian violence, including those against members of the Coptic community and bring all those responsible to justice.

ARTICLE 19 calls on the international community, including the United Nations, to take a pro-active role in ensuring an end to the political impasse by seeking an inclusive political dialogue and solution. A possible model could be that followed for Yemen when the UN Security Council supported the appointment of a Special Adviser and of a team of UN experts to support the implementation of the transition process, and provide advice to the parties in support of the National Dialogue process.

In the early morning of 14 August 2013, Egyptian security forces started to clear the Muslim Brotherhood's six week long sit-ins in Rabaa Mosque Square in Nasr City, east of Cairo, and Nahda Square. The sit-ins had been set up by protesters demonstrating against the removal on 3 July of elected President Mohammed Morsi, his continuing detention and the suspension of the 2012 Constitution.

As result of the violent intervention by the security forces, unconfirmed numbers of civilians have reportedly been killed by live ammunition, and a higher number of civilians have been seriously injured. According to the BBC the Egyptian Ministry of Health has reported 95 people killed and nearly 400 injured. The Ministry of the Interior has also reported that six security officers have been killed by armed protesters. For the Muslim Brotherhood, a massacre has been committed resulting in the killings of some 500 protesters.

"ARTICLE 19 condemns in the strongest terms possible the killings of protesters in Cairo Rabaa Mosque and Nahda squares and the use of excessive and disproportionate force by the security forces.

For over a month now, the threat of, and use of force against the Muslim Brotherhood protesters has led to nothing else but further and deepening divisions and mistrust in Egypt and increasing violence. The country is further away today from addressing the political and human rights crisis, than it was on the eve of the military intervention of July 3rd." said Dr. Agnes Callamard, ARTICLE 19 Executive Director

Unrest has also spread to other parts of Egypt where, allegedly, three Coptic Churches have been burned and government buildings, including police stations, have been attacked by pro-Morsi supporters.

News reports have confirmed the killing of British cameraman for Sky News, Mike Deane, and that of Dubai-based reporter Habiba Ahmed Abd Elaziz, staff reporter for XPRESS, a sister publication of Gulf News. Both journalists were shot and killed when reporting.

News reports have also confirmed the detention by the security forces of five journalists for more than four hours at the Rabaa Mosque Square, including Mick Julian of US-based News Week. They were released after their camera equipment was checked and confiscated. Several leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood movement were also arrested.

In response to the situation, the Egyptian interim Government declared a month-long state of emergency across the country.

"The appalling scenes in Cairo today were predictable, and so is the massive number of casualties, number that is likely to rise in the days and weeks to come. The killings were brought about by the military coup of 3 July, itself preceded by one year of bad governance and attacks on fundamental freedoms. The logical outcome of the events of the last month has been sadly unfolding: a spiral of increasing sectarian violence and mass killings and the nominal return of the Army to power, signifying the failure of the first phase of democratic transition post Arab Spring in Egypt.

The State of Emergency is not only unlikely to bring about any solution to the political crisis in Egypt, it could well and on its own deepen it even further away from the democratic ideals of the 2011 protesters in Tahir Square. Indeed, one of the achievements of the 2011 revolution had been the lifting of the state of emergency that had been in place in the country for decades and under which the Egyptian authorities had arbitrarily detained people who spoke out, tortured them, and censored independent news.

What is required now are real, meaningful and authentic steps towards a serious national dialogue inclusive of all political forces and movements. Getting out of the political impasse and moving away from the logic of further violence must begin with the release of President Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders, and include their active participation to the dialogue, along with that of all representative members of Egyptian society. It may also require urgent external good offices and support to this national dialogue." added Dr Agnes Callamard.

ARTICLE 19 calls on the Egyptian Interim government and Army to:

Lift the state of emergency and fully comply with applicable international law;

In any case, ensure that the right to freedom of expression and information of all is fully protected and guaranteed. The rights of journalists and the media must be protected; journalists should be allowed them to report without fear and censorship;

Fully respect its obligation under international law which clearly state that even in time of emergency, authorities must protect the right to life and freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This means that the state must refrain from arbitrarily detaining people, torturing them, engaging in other reprisals against them, or denying them their right to fair trial;

Immediately release former President Morsi and all other political prisoners;

Take meaningful and trustworthy steps towards initiating a national dialogue inclusive of all political forces and civil society;

Cease the shutting down of pro-Morsi satellite stations, and the tight censorship on the state broadcasting;

Conduct a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into the excessive use of force, including the killing of protestors and the killings of the two journalists;

Investigate sectarian violence, including those against members of the Coptic community and bring all those responsible to justice.

ARTICLE 19 urges all political forces in Egypt, including the Muslim Brotherhood, to truthfully work towards getting out of the current impasse and spiral of violence through dialogue and negotiations.

ARTICLE 19 calls on the international community, including the United Nations, to take a pro-active role in ensuring an end to the political and human rights crisis by supporting an inclusive political dialogue and solution. A possible model could be that followed for Yemen in 2012 when the UN Security Council supported the appointment of a Special Adviser and of a team of UN experts to support the implementation of the transition process, and provide advice to the parties in support of the National Dialogue process.

- See more at: http://www.article19.org/resources.php/resource/37204/en/egypt:-article-19-condemns-the-killings-of-scores-of-pro-morsi-protesters-while-clearing-peaceful-sit-ins-in-cairo#sthash.a8Rugle2.dpuf

Copyright notice: Copyright ARTICLE 19

Search Refworld

Countries