Last Updated: Friday, 24 November 2017, 11:39 GMT

Egypt: Dealing with a bloody counter-revolution

Publisher International Federation for Human Rights
Publication Date 27 January 2014
Cite as International Federation for Human Rights, Egypt: Dealing with a bloody counter-revolution, 27 January 2014, available at: [accessed 25 November 2017]
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.

FIDH deplores the terrible casualties of the third anniversary of the Egyptian uprising that turned into another massacre of at least 64 civilians, and condemns what looks like another episode of excessive use of force by the security forces against targeted protesters on January 25, 2014.

According to credible sources and eyewitnesses, in early Saturday afternoon, as a large crowd of supporters to the current regime was allowed to gather on Tahrir Square in central Cairo, groups of " counter protesters ", mostly pro-Morsi as well as revolutionary forces have been dispersed violently when both the military and police forces used tear gas and started shooting, including live ammunition. According to reliable information gathered by FIDH, around 1500 protesters were still marching and chanting peacefully when the security forces opened fire. Eye-witnesses declared they were amazed by how quickly the police resorted to violent and lethal means to repress the protests.

This massive repression also resulted in the arrest of 1079 people according to the Ministry of Interior. Journalists have become a regular target of both the authorities and the citizens who tend to see them as spies or affiliated to a " terrorist entity ". 36 violations have been documented on January 25th, ranging from journalists being banned, assaulted and arrested, as well as having their equipment seized.[1]

FIDH urges the Egyptian authorities to open thorough independent and impartial investigations into the grave human rights violations committed on January 25, 2014 in order to bring those responsible before justice and put an end to what has become a culture of impunity. In this regard, the mandate of the fact-finding commission formed by Presidential Decree on December 21, 2013 to look into post-June 30th events could be extended to the latest bloodshed.

FIDH also urges the authorities to release immediately those who are detained without any charge, and to guarantee fair judicial process to the others. Furthermore, all prisoners of opinion detained for exercising their basic rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression should be released without delay.

These events take place in a context of high tension after several bombs attacks, claimed by islamist groups, have occurred in the country, and specifically in Cairo on Friday. FIDH understands and supports the necessity to combat terrorism and guarantee the security of the State; however it wishes to reaffirm that the fight against terrorism should not be instrumentalized to undermine respect for human rights.

In this regard, FIDH recalls that the crackdown against protesters has increased dramatically against that background and after the adoption of a new protest law on November 24th 2013. This law, which restricts the right to protest when the authorities consider there is a threat to peace and security, has been used against protesters, political and human rights activists together, resulting in the arrest and detention of well-known human rights defenders as well as increasing pressure on human rights organizations over the last weeks.

"Rather than taking serious security measures to confront the spread of support for terrorism in Egypt, the security forces are pouring their efforts into a crackdown that targets members of the peaceful opposition and youth activists who clearly oppose terrorism. Security forces have even raided human rights organizations and beaten and arrested their employees, who themselves are deeply committed to denouncing terrorism. " declared a number of FIDH member and partner organizations in Egypt on January 24th.

Last Update 27 January

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