AU Complaint – Egypt
- The complainants/authors hereby submit a communication against Egypt and in particular the accused referred to below pursuant to Article 55 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Commission may resort to any appropriate method of investigation; it may hear from the Secretary General of the Organisation of African Unity or any other person capable of enlightening it.
- The First Complainant is the MUSLIM LAWYERS ASSOCIATION (MLA), a voluntary association based in Johannesburg South Africa. A copy of the constitution of the MLA is attached hereto marked annexure “1”.
- The Second complainant is MOHAMED REDA ELHENEDAWI ELORABI, an adult male Egyptian citizen with Egyptian passport number A03601681. The second complainant has a valid work permit until 2015 to reside and work in the Republic of South Africa dated 10 May 2015. A copy of the work permit is attached hereto marked annexure “2”. The second complainant was in Egypt from 13 to 20 August 2013. The second complainant was injured on 14 August 2013 by the Egyptian military and police whilst in Rabaa al Adawiya, Egypt. The second complainant’s brother Mahood Reda Elhenedawi was on the same day shot in the eyes and is now blind. He was born with one blind eye and has been shot in the other eye thus making him totally blind. The second complainant’s cousin was murdered on the same day by the police and the military. His cousin’s name is Hassan Eldriny. The second complainant’s cousin Mohammed Azat Elhenedawi has been arrested and unlawfully detained. Another cousin Ebrahim Mohammed Elhenedawi was shot in the head with a live bullet and is in hospital in Almansoura Hospital. Another cousin, Mahmood Mohammed Elhenedawi, was shot with live ammunition in his left hand and is also in the same hospital.
- The third complainant is the INTERNATIONAL COALITION FOR FREEDOM AND RIGHTS (ICFR). Its website is icfr.info. It has lawyers and activists from Egypt as its members. It is a voluntary association which is in the process of being formally registered in London. It was created in Istanbul Turkey by agreement of those present at its meeting on 21 -22 November 2013 specifically as a result of the illegal coup in Egypt. It has commissioned certain reports to which the complainants make reference to below. The contact details of the current co co-ordinator are as follows:
Dr. Anas Altikriti
- The fourth complainant is MOHAMMED BELTAGI, an adult male, father of the late 17 year old Asma el Beltagi who was murdered at Raba al Adawiya on 14 August 2013.
- The Complainants are represented by attorney YOUSHA TAYOB who practices from 1ST FLOOR, OSGO BUILDING, NO. 7 BONANZA STREET, SELBY, EXTENSION 19, JOHANNESBURG.
- The complainants submit this communication in their own names and on behalf of all victims and family members of those murdered, injured, killed, detained and who were victims of breaches of international laws and treaties to which Egypt bound itself to, victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity (perpetrated by the accused).
- The accused persons are the current Egyptian Military Generals and soldiers and the current illegal government of Egypt.
- This includes but is not limited to:
9.1. Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi (First Deputy Prime Minister; Minister of Defence; Commander-In-Chief of The Egyptian Armed Forces; Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces; and Supreme Commander of the Egyptian Armed Forces and current interim president of Egypt);
9.2. Mohamed Ibrahim (Minister of Interior; Police); and
9.3. All government and cabinet Ministers currently serving in the illegal government,
- On 3 July 2013, the Egyptian Military acting under the command of General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi forcibly removed the elected President of Egypt, Dr. Mohammed Morsi.
- According to the Constitution in force on 3 July 2013, the Egyptian President may only be removed by a process of impeachment for felony or high treason in accordance with Article 152 of the 2012 Constitution requiring that “at least a third of the members of the House of Representatives sponsor a motion of impeachment, and the House passes the motion with a two-thirds majority.” Moreover, the “President of the Republic is to be tried before a special tribunal headed by the President of the High Council of Judges and staffed by the senior deputies of the President of the High Constitutional Court and the State Council, and the two most senior presidents of the appeals courts.”
- An almost identical process of impeachment appears in the Constitution being promulgated by the authorities that came to power by the 3 July 2013 military coup. This process was not followed in July of 2013.
- Instead, President Morsi was removed through an extra-constitutional process led by the military that can accurately be described as a military coup. As a result of these extra-constitutional actions, the African Union suspended Egypt’s membership on 5 July 2013.
- President Morsi was forcibly removed from Office by threat of military force and the use of deadly force against members of his Freedom and Justice Party.
- President Morsi was taken into custody on 3 July 2013. He was held incommunicado until late July when he was allowed to meet the European Union Council’s Foreign Affairs representative Ms Catherine Ashton and representatives of the African Union. He continued to be denied access to lawyers or family except for a single phone contact with family members in October of 2013. President Morsi then met his lawyers on 4 November 2013 for 30 minutes immediately before the hearing held on the same day at the Police Academy in Cairo, Egypt.
- At this hearing President Morsi reiterated to the court that he did not recognize its jurisdiction over him and that in accordance with the Constitution of Egypt he was the elected President of Egypt.
- Supporters of President Morsi have not been allowed their basic civil liberties. As this complaint shows, their rights to life, due process, dignity and their freedom of choice have inter alia been violated in the most serious manner. The present government and the accused have made themselves guilty of series violations of the African Charter on Human and Political Rights and the instruments to which Egypt is bound.
- The incidents at Raba al Adawiya during August 2013 in particular, will be focused upon in this communication.
- As this communication was being prepared Egypt sentenced 528 people to death in an egregious violation of their right to life. The complainants are in the process of gathering evidence and will submit an independent communication regarding this issue.
- In this communication the Complainants call upon the Commission to declare this complaint contained herein admissible and to urgently seize the Court with the case presented hereunder.
- Egypt has ratified multiple international human rights instruments. Of importance to this complaint are the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), G.A. Res. 2200A (XXI), 21 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 16) at 52, U.N. Doc. A/6316 (1966), 999 U.N.T.S. 171, entered into force 23 March 1976 (Egypt has not ratified the first Optional Protocol allowing individual petitions), and the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), adopted 27 June 1981, OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/67/3 rev. 5, 21 I.L.M. 58 (1982), entered into force 21 October 1986. These two treaties provide most noticeably for the right to fair trial that includes the right to be tried by a court constituted in accordance with law existing at the time of one arrest and through a process that accords with that stipulated by law (art. 14 ICCPR and article 7 ACHPR), the right to security of persons that includes protection against secret detention (art. 9 ICCPR and article 6 ACHPR), and the right for all persons to participate in their own government including to have their vote respected and to hold office when elected (art. 25 ICCPR and article 13 ACHPR). These two treaties and the aforementioned articles have been the focus of the observation visit and report. They reflect international law that the government of Egypt has agreed to respect.
- The complainants in addition rely upon the Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Assistance in Africa.
- In addition Egypt is a party to the Constitutive Act of the African Union (it deposited its instrument of ratification on 30 July 2001). Article 4(p) states as one of the African Union principles: condemnation and rejection of unconstitutional changes of government.
- Other relevant treaties that have been ratified by Egypt are the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as the Arab Charter on Human Rights, which serves as the basis of the work of the Arab Commission on Human Rights, and the Islamic Declaration of Human Rights under Islam, which serves as the basis of the work of the Permanent Commission on Human Rights of the OIC. Notably Egypt has not ratified the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.
THE PURPOSE OF THIS COMMUNICATIONNEED FOR URGENT PROCESSING OF THE COMMUNICATION
- In view of the bloody confrontations currently going on in Egypt and the fact that the illegal regime continues to rule the people by oppression and continues to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity and the increasingly numerous loss of life and liberty arising therefrom, the complainants submit that this communication should be treated with the utmost urgency by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
- Accordingly, in conformity with Rule 119.4 of the Interim Rules of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights the complainants submit that the Commission should commence with an urgent protective mission and /or refer this Application to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights considering that the situation brought to its knowledge amounts to serious and massive violation of human rights and that Egypt is a State Party to the Protocol to the African Charter regarding the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
- The condition requiring the prior exhaustion of local remedies (Article 56 of the African Charter) before an application is deemed admissible carries exceptions raised on several occasions in the jurisprudence of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
- This is the case inter alia in a decision on applications 25/89, 47/90, 56/91 and 103/93 against Zaire in regard to serious and widespread violations of human rights in that country; the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights had affirmed in that regard that “the Commission had never held that the condition requiring the exhaustion of local remedies would apply to the letter when it was neither practicable nor desirable for the complainant to seize domestic tribunals in the case of each violation”.
- The case against Egypt Communication 334/06 – Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and Interights v Arab Republic of Egypt also sets out the relevant principles. All the necessary conditions for admissibility remain applicable in this present complaint and indeed the need for urgent intervention is this case is far greater than it was in the above decision. The conditions in Egypt are grave and there is simply no access to justice at this point in time.
- In light of the confrontations currently occurring in the country and the serious and massive violations of human rights and the obvious ineffectiveness of the process of appeal, this communication should be considered as admissible.
- Three major criteria could be deduced from the practice of the Commission in determining this rule, namely: the remedy must be available, effective and sufficient. None of these preconditions exist internally in Egypt. There are simply no domestic remedies which are available, effective or sufficient.
- The African Commission in several Communications held that the condition of exhaustion of local remedies “should not constitute an unjustifiable impediment to access international remedies. Therefore, Article 56(5) should be applied concomitantly with Article 7, which establishes and protects the right to fair trial”.
- Therefore, if the victim cannot turn to the judiciary of his country because of the lack of an effective legal remedy to address his fear and concerns, local remedies would be considered to be unavailable to him. This is indeed the present case.
- Furthermore in light of the fact that this complaint is against the present regime, army and police, it is simply impossible to exhaust any internal remedies as none are practically or legally available.
- The first and second complainants mention that they have served a complaint to the South African authorities in accordance with Article 13 and 14 of the Rome statute of the International Criminal Court, adopted by the United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the establishment of an International Criminal Court on 17th July 1998 and ratified by the Republic of South Africa. No positive response has to date been received.
- It is not based on the African Charter but on domestic South African legislation. This however in submission should not prevent the present complaint from being considered as the cause of action is different.
- Nor are the second and fourth complainants party to the South African complaint which to date has not received any positive response.
- The reports which are quoted below are from independent news agencies and organisations as well as from the third complainant. The second complainant has made a personal account of his experience. So too has the fourth complainant.
- The complainants reserve the right to add additional information as soon as it is available.
The war crimes and crimes against humanity in Egypt are ongoing and require urgent intervention.
THE FACTSTHE EVIDENCE TENDERED BY THE THIRD COMPLAINANT ICFR report concerning period 5 to 10 January 2014
- The third complainant, The International Coalition for Freedoms and Rights (ICFR), published a report based on a visit by an international team of lawyers to Egypt between the 5th and 10th of January 2014, who monitored the trial of President Mohammed Morsi.
- A copy of the report is annexed hereto marked annexure “3”. The contents of the report are incorporated herein in its entirety.
- In 2012, Dr. Morsi became Egypt’s first democratically elected President. On 30 June 2013, the Egyptian military led by General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi issued an ultimatum to President Morsi ordering him to “meet the people’s demands” within 48 hours or face military action. The ultimatum did not define the “people’s demands” but appeared to primarily refer to a dispute between Morsi’s government and the Tamarod movement. President Morsi refused to meet the deadline and a military coup removed him from power on 3 July 2013. The military claimed to be implementing the wishes of the people although its actions were contrary to the express terms of the Egyptian Constitution adopted by popular referendum in 2012 and the results of the 2012 election.
- President Morsi and his key aides were arrested in the weeks that followed the military coup and were initially held incommunicado and without charge. On 26 July 2013, President Morsi was detained on charges of inciting murder in connection with ordering the use of force against protesters who had attacked the Presidential building in Cairo in December 2012 and on separate charges of collaborating with the elected Hamas government in the State of Palestine. On 1 September 2013, President Morsi was formally charged with incitement to murder involving the events of December 2012. In December of 2013, he was formally charged with collaborating with Hamas against the Egyptian state, as well as with additional charges related to his escape from prison along with 130 other prisoners during the 2011 revolution against the Mubarak regime. The charges levelled against President Morsi allow for the death penalty upon conviction.
- President Morsi’s incommunicado detention continued until 4 November 2013, with only a single visit in late July 2013 by Ms Catherine Ashton, the Foreign Relations envoy of the European Union, and representatives of the African Union. At a hearing before the Egyptian High Court in Cairo on 4 November 2013, it was stated that President Morsi was being held at Borg al-Arab Prison in Alexandria. At this hearing the President stated that he did not wish to have legal representation as he rejected the authority of the Court over him. Several of his colleagues at the hearing were represented by legal counsel. These included Mr. Mohamed Mahdi Akef, Mr. Mohamed Badie, Mr. Khairat al-Shater, Mr. Rashad Bayoumi, Mr. Saad al-Katatni, all members of the Freedom and Justice Party, and Mr. Abdelmonim Abdelmaqsud, the lawyer of the several defendants.
- Since 4 November 2013, there have been regular demonstrations calling for the restoration of President Morsi as the elected President of Egypt. The authorities have reacted aggressively towards these demonstrations by arresting thousands of demonstrators and killing hundreds. Activists and family members interviewed by the delegation repeatedly detailed claims of the excessive use of force to control demonstrations, the use of provocateurs to instigate violence, beatings—including sexual assaults and rapes—of persons who have been detained by the authorities, killings of persons—including to pressure other persons to turn themselves in or support the military coup, harassment and arrest of students during police invasions of university campuses, expulsion of students for engaging in peaceful political activity, detention of minors, excessive sentences being handed down for crimes, the manipulation of evidence, and the incitement of violence against individuals who oppose the military coup.
- The observers also received testimony that Egyptian citizens have been beaten and arrested for violating the new, law banning protests, which was adopted on 24 November 2013. Numerous reports were made that persons have been arrested for displaying the Ra’baa sign (raising four fingers) and for participating in peaceful political activity on university campuses. Public spaces throughout Cairo also displayed banners urging the adoption of the new Constitution during the upcoming referendum on 14 and 15 January 2014. However, there were absolutely no public expressions of opposition to the referendum despite the fact that the referendum is a contentious issue in Egyptian society. Opponents of the referendum interviewed by the delegation expressed the belief that any public expressions of opposition would be met by the authorities with arrests and other repressive acts, and the atmosphere of fear and intimidation is accordingly the reason for the lack of public opposition. Subsequent to the delegation’s departure from Egypt, members of the Strong Egypt party were arrested and detained by authorities, including on terrorism charges, for posting literature urging a “No” vote in the constitutional referendum scheduled for 14 and 15 January 2014.
- On 25 December 2013, the Muslim Brotherhood was declared a terrorist organization by the military government. Despite repeated public demands, the current Egyptian authorities and public prosecutor have not initiated any legal investigations of responsibility for the massacres at the Ra’baa Mosque and al-Nahda Square, or other claims of abuse of power and excessive force. On 20 December 2013, lawyers acting for the government of President Morsi that had been removed in July 2013 requested the International Criminal Court investigate the leaders of the military coup and their supporters for crimes against humanity, providing a dossier detailing many of the above allegations.
- Egypt society is currently experiencing severe economic and social stress. As a result tensions among the population are running high and several governments have issued travel advisories to their nationals discouraging them from traveling to Egypt.
- The report concludes that:
49.1. These claims, if substantiated, indicate serious violations of the due process rights stated in Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
49.2. In addition the fact that the current government ruling Egypt came to power as the result of a military coup that overrode the will of Egyptians that was expressed in a fair and free election in 2012, together with interferences with the judiciary alleged by numerous lawyers interviewed by the delegation, appears to indicate that the right of all Egyptians to participate in their government, including President Morsi, that is found in Article 13 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, has been violated.
49.3. The right to a fair trial provides for safeguards not only before a trial, but also at a trial and at every hearing. In this case the trial is still in a very preliminary phase, but there are already indications of further interferences with President Morsi’s right to a fair trial.
49.4. The hearing on 4 November 2013 was held without providing lawyers the prior opportunity to advise President Morsi or to prepare his defence. During the short hearing President Morsi stated to the Court that he did not recognize its jurisdiction over him. He also stated that he wished to represent himself. The charges against him and several colleagues who were also in the courtroom were read out and the hearing adjourned.
49.5. On 8 January 201, a second hearing was scheduled to be held in a closed zone within the “Police Academy” in the Fifth settlement in Masri Jaddeda, Cairo. The number of lawyers that were allowed to attend was limited and no members of the general public were allowed to attend. Although 90 lawyers requested permission to attend the hearing, only 14 requests were accepted, and only four lawyers were ultimately allowed to enter the courtroom. The Secretary-General of the Egyptian Bar Association, several non-governmental legal organizations, and the defendants’ lawyers had also made a written request for permission from Judge Sabri, the Prosecutor-General, and the Minister of Justice for the four observers to attend the trial. No response was ever forthcoming from any of these persons or institutions. The observers were not able to enter the trial, but they observed the conditions under which it was held from outside the highly-guarded “Police Academy”. Several hours after the trial was supposed to have started on 8 November, the Court convened and Judge Sabri announced that the hearing was being postponed until 1 February 2014. The official reason for postponing trial was due to bad weather that prevented President Morsi from being brought to the courtroom. Weather reports for Alexandria and Cairo, however, did not indicate the existence of weather that would have prohibited the operation of aircraft and the Alexandria airport remained open and operational on that date.
49.6. No member of President Morsi’s family or legal team has seen him or talked to him since 19 November 2013. Prior to that date, President Morsi was imprisoned along with his personal assistant, Refaa Al-Tahtawi. Since 19 November 2013, no family or legal visits with Mr. Tahtawi have occurred.
49.7. The incommunicado detention of Morsi and his staff raises serious concerns for their life and well-being and is contrary to international law providing for the liberty and security of persons in article 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.ICFR report 11 to 14 March 201
- The International Coalition for Freedoms and Rights (ICFR) organized a delegation of international lawyers to Egypt a part of the ongoing effort to understand the situation of human rights in Egypt after 3 July 2013 when the military coup removed Mr. Mohammed Morsi, who was Egypt’s first democratically elected President.
- A copy of the report is annexed hereto marked annexure “4”. The contents of the report are incorporated herein in its entirety.
- The delegation met with Egypt’s Minister of Justice Mr. Nayer Othman Mohamed and the Vice-President of Egypt’s National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) Mr. Abd El Ghaffar Shokr. The NCHR is a governmental organization. The delegation also met with the relatives of detainees, former women prisoners, students, academics, activists, and defence lawyers. Requests to attend a public court session and to visit President Morsi were rejected by the respective judge and the Prosecutor-General. Both the Prosecutor-General and his deputy for International Cooperation refused to meet the delegation. The Secretary-General of the Arab League also refused a request to meet with the delegation. In five days in Egypt, delegation members had more than 40 hours of meeting with Egyptians from the government and non-governmental organizations.
- The report shows that:
“The removal of an elected president by a military coup raises serious human rights concerns and appears to be the starting point for many contemporary human rights problems in Egypt. The military coup itself is a serious violation of the right to participate in one’s democracy of the majority voters in the 2012 presidential elections. This right is protected in both the ICCPR (art. 25) and the ACHPR (art. 13). The deterioration in the human rights situation in the aftermath of the military coup appears to be due to the military coup leaders’ unwillingness to allow any significant expressions of dissent. Numerous students recounted tales of arbitrary arrest, beatings, sexual abuse, and interference with their right of peaceful protest. Such actions are prohibited under both the ICCPR and the ACHPR. Of particular concern was the large number of egregious human rights abuses carried out against women. Several civil society actors the delegation met at different times and separate from each other reiterated the claim that the number of sexual and other forms of abuse against women is higher than it has ever been in Egypt in recent times. The delegation was told repeatedly that many of the persons who are being arrested and mistreated are juveniles under 18-years-of-age. After the military coup and detaining of President Morsi there were widespread protests and sit-ins across Egypt. The largest of these occurred at Raba’a al-Adawiyya Square and al-Nahda Square in Giza near Cairo University. These sit-ins lasted approximately six weeks until they were brutally attacked on 14 August 2013 by police, military and security authorities using armed force against demonstrators; including rooftop snipers, helicopters, armoured vehicles, and other excessive forms of armed force. This attack, described below, preceded the attacks on police and police stations that took place from 15 to 20 August 2013 throughout Egypt. One of the most serious incidents occurred on 14 August 2013 when the Egyptian army, police and security forces attacked the generally peaceful sit-ins at the Raba’a Al-Adawiyya Square in Naser City and al-Nahda Square near Cairo University. Estimates of how many people were at the Raba’a sit-in when it was attacked range from the tens of thousands to more than 250,000. The number of people killed, including youth, women and children, ranges from a minimum of 638, reported by the government, to more than 6000, reported by activists. Thousands of people were injured. The government justified its action on claims that the camp was involved in violence and had become a public nuisance. Whatever the true number of dead and injured, and even if the government’s claim about the camp were true, the level of violence used by government forces was disproportionate and constitutes a massive and serious violation of human rights. During the visit the delegation discussed the Raba’a incident with the Vice-President of the NCHR, which had just released its own report on the incident. The report claimed that the demonstrators at the Raba’a sit-in had weapons and had fired first on the police and soldiers. The report also stated that the response of the authorities against the demonstrators was disproportionate. The NCHR report, according to the Vice-President and Secretary-General of the NCHR in response to question from the delegation, was based on information provided by the authorities, media, and Wikithawra. No person who was at the Raba’a sit-in or any Muslim Brotherhood member gave evidence to the NCHR. Moreover, videos that the NCHR provided the delegation of plain clothes youth totting weapons do not exclude that these youth might have been agents provocateurs or plain cloths youth working for the security, police or military forces sent to provoke violence. Based on the evidence that went into writing the NCHR report, the report can be viewed as a statement of the Egyptian authorities and as such an admission of the massive disproportional use of force by these authorities. Such a use of force cannot be justified on any of the grounds put forward by the authorities. Despite this conclusion, these serious incidents have not led to the investigation or prosecution of any police, security, or military personnel or of any official who was involved in ordering the attack, among which are Minister of Defense, the Minister of Interior, the President, the Vice-President, the Prime-Minister, as well as the chiefs of police and security. As Parliament has been dissolved, the authorities that control the executive after the military coup exercise executive and legislative powers. The delegation was told that Egypt’s President Mr. Adly Mansour who came into office after the military coup and who had been the President of the Constitutional Court, effectively exercises the executive and legislative powers together with the other cabinet ministers who were installed after the military coup. The cabinet of the military coup leaders was reshuffled in late February 2014. Comments from both representatives of the authorities as well as civil society indicate that the freedoms of expression, assembly, and association are being challenged by the authorities despite the fact that these are rights have been agreed to by Egypt in several international human rights instruments, including both the universal and regional human rights treaties mentioned above. These interferences with these rights included the arrest and detention of journalists merely for their contacts with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, harassment of journalists, denial of visa to journalists, the arrest of peaceful protesters due to their protesting the military coup or even calling for Egyptians to boycott the January 2014 referendum on a new Constitution that was boycotted by almost two-thirds of all Egyptian voters, and the use of violence and sometimes inhumane and degrading treatment against protesters, often women and girls, who peacefully express their opposition to the military coup. In this context, the authorities recently promulgated a new decree law on demonstrations that Egyptian human rights defenders and the National Council on Human Rights have criticized. These organizations complained that it is overly broad and restricts the rights of freedom of expression, assembly, and association. The NCHR provided us with their written comments on this law, which they had also submitted to the authorities. Civil society members also criticized the recently adopted decree law on elections for providing the National Election Commission complete immunity from legal challenges. While the delegation was visiting Cairo former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq withdrew from the upcoming presidential elections citing his belief that there would be widespread election fraud in any election in which General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was participating as a candidate. In December 2013 the authorities designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization claiming that they were behind the violence that gripped the country. This effectively banned them from public life and suspended the freedom of expression, association and assembly of all persons who identified themselves with this group. This happened despite the fact that the Freedom and Justice Party, which is identified as being aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood, won less than two years earlier both Parliamentary and Presidential elections that were widely acknowledged to have been free and fair. Moreover, this designation was made despite the fact that numerous other groups had responded with some degree of violence to the authorities’ disproportionate use of force to quell opposition to the military coup, especially to the violent attack on the Raba’a al-Adawiyya Square sit-in. Independence of courts and the judiciary are guaranteed under Egyptian and international law. The Minister of Justice, Mr. Nayer Othman Mohamed, who is responsible for the independence of the courts and the judiciary in Egypt, stated to the delegation that after the military coup on 3 July 2013, which he referred to as a “revolution” in Egypt, no person, not even a Minister, could interfere with the independence of the courts or the judiciary. Nevertheless, several lawyers and victims who are seeking redress through the courts reported that they believed there was significant interference with the independence of the judiciary as well as with the right to fair trial. Alleged interferences with the judiciary included allegations by lawyers that judges were no longer picked to adjudicate cases through a random procedure as required by law. Instead, the delegation was told, judges are selected to deal with specific cases due to their allegiance to the military coup leaders. Lawyers also reported interferences with the human right to a fair trial, which is guaranteed under Egyptian and international law. The alleged interferences with the right to fair trial included lawyers being arrested for representing clients who opposed the military coup. The delegation was told by several lawyers that more than 300 lawyers had been arrested. On the day of its arrival, the delegation was told of a recent incident whereby a lawyer had been arrested while visiting his client in prison. Lawyers have also reported that defendants are denied access to their lawyers or their family, confessions are often coerced from defendants by threats directed to them or to their family members, family members are prohibited from passing food and other necessities to prisoners, incommunicado detention and solitary confinement are widespread, and, in many cases, especially those involving high profile political prisoners, defendants are prevented from effectively participating in their own defence. Because of the number of different lawyers that corroborated these interferences, the delegation concludes from this evidence that an endemic denial of fair trial and abuse of judicial procedure appears to exist in Egypt. This is a matter of paramount concern for ensuring respect for the rule of both national and international law and should be given adequate and urgent attention by the Egyptian authorities and the international community. Both lawyers and family members reported not being able to meet with imprisoned clients or family members because they fear reprisals from the authorities. Some family members of detainees also reported that their relatives were being abused in prison. The delegation was also told that women in particular have been subjected to abuse in prison. Families of abused women as well as the women themselves emphasized the need to punish the perpetrators of such crimes. As concerns the trials of President Morsi, the Minister of Justice Mr. Nayer Othman Mohamed stated that article 152 of the 2012 Egyptian Constitution, which was in force on 3 July 2013 when President Morsi was removed, was not being applied because no implementing legislation had been enacted. The Vice-President of Egypt’s National Human Rights Council, however, stated that the Constitution is self-executing and does not require implementing legislation. The delegation believes that is the correct interpretation of the Egyptian Constitution as it accords with the practice of almost every State that has adopted a national constitution. In any event, the trials of President Morsi appear to be unfair due not only to the illegality of the courts trying him, but also to their failure to abide by fundamental standards of due process. Denying President Morsi access to lawyers and family and denying him adequate time and facilities to prepare his defence are serious violations of his right to a fair trial. Finally, several activists and family members of persons who are in detention or who have been killed or injured as well as the Vice-President of the National Human Rights Council have emphasized the need to provide redress to individuals and families who have suffered injury. Such redress appears to be considered an important part of any effort to achieve reconciliation. Such redress might also help to lessen the increasing hostility in society between the minority of Egyptians who support the military coup and the majority who are demanding a return to democracy.”Further reports by ICFR
- The third complainant also publishes further weekly reports on its website at the following URL: http://www.icfr.info/en/article.php?id=129. The reports are available on the website and are tendered.
- These weekly reports highlight:
55.1. Serious violations of free press and freedom of speech rights inter alia evidenced by the detention of intentional and other journalists
55.2. The passing of repressive laws by the present illegitimate government which violate fundamental and universal freedoms of the Egyptian people. There were 96 reported violations of the rights of journalists in January 2014 alone.
55.3. The sentencing of a juvenile to prison for taking part in peaceful anti coup protests.
55.4. The arrest and detention of female student protestors
THE SECOND COMPLAINANT’S VERSION
- The incident at Raba al Adawiya, Egypt was reported on by various news media agents including Al Jazeerah. See reports below.
- The incident in relation to the second complainant and his family members happened on 14 August 2013 and is the same one reported on.
- The second complainant woke up at about 6:45 am. He was staying in a tent in Raba al Adawiya .The tent was set up to protest against the coup. It was a peaceful protest and the second applicant and his family had no arms. He saw no one who was protesting with weapons.
- The protest had started 45 days before.
- People woke them up because the military and the police had attacked the protestors from four sides. The protestors were cornered. The military and police were shooting live ammunition, gas and rubber bullets in the crowd.
- Everyone in the tent went to a gathering place nearby the tent about 500 metres away.
- When they reached there he saw that the military and police were shooting into the crowd. People picked up stones to defend themselves but the shots continued. Bulldozers began crushing down the tents. In the process the second complainant was injured slightly on the left temple at about 11am.The police and army were aiming for the upper body.
- They tried to murder all the protestors.
- Raba al Adawiya square is the only place where effective peaceful protest can take place.
- The second complainant saw many people shot and killed with blood on the floor.
- The hospital was full of bodies.
- The shooting took place continuously from 7am to 5pm.
- The second complainant was in the square and no one could leave as they were surrounded with nowhere to go and could only defend themselves with stones while the shooting continued.
- The second compliant carried many bodies.
- After 5pm the military changed their strategy and used only live fire. The military and police used live ammunition on the crowd. Helicopters were also used.
- Many people were murdered and no one could get out as firing was from all four corners.
- People could only go into the hospital and mosque.
- The second complainant ran to the hospital.
- Live shots were fired into the hospital by snipers of the police and / or military.
- Gas was fired in the hospital.
- The second applicant’s brother was shot at 5pm at the mosque.
- The second applicant’s cousins were killed in the 5pm shootings when they tried to take refuge in the mosque.
- The second applicant identified his cousin’s bodies at the mosque.
- The military and police arrested many people.
- When many arrests were made, the second applicant took refuge in a mosque 2 kilometres away.
- They burned the hospital and mosque.
- The military and army also burned people.
- The second applicant assisted in picking up bodies and taking the bodies to the El Iman masjid. There were about 500 bodies.
- The second applicant also attended zinhom mortuary to look for family members and there were many bodies inside and outside in the field.
- Many people were murdered by the military and police.
- The hospital and the Rabaa mosque were attacked on 14 August 2013.
- The next day the Fath mosque was also attacked and burned by the police and military.
- The second applicant visited Heliopolous hospital and Al Houssen hospital and at Tamin hospital and Kahab hospital on the 15th of August 2013. There were many bodies including burnt bodies. He was trying to locate family members.
- No bodies were released and some police and judges forced persons to write false statements recording that persons had committed suicide before releasing bodies for burial.
- Many people got arrested in Cairo stadium. He went there to find family members.
- The second complainant took his brother for x-rays and medical check-ups. The second complainants testimony is attached hereto as annexure “5” and reads as follows:
My testimony about Raba’a massacre (Cairo, Egypt)
Wednesday14 August 2013 -At 3:00 am we got up for prayers. -At 5:00 am we had a rest. -At 6:30 am we had awaken one another because the military forces and police were trying to enter the protest area from all sides. -At 7:00 we have been gathered by the main platform to know what was happening. -At 7:15 am we were trying to prevent the police and military forces from entering the protest area. -At 7:30 the military forces and police were invading the place of protest flooding us with gas, crashing all what in their way and burning the tents. -At 8:00 am the attack also was from the air by helicopters which were shooting the protests and through sound bombs over them. -At 10:00 am I did help some of the injured people to reach the nearest hospital, when I arrived there I found the hospital was full of injury people and dead bodies. The injuries were very serious as the shoots were in the head, neck and chest. Which were proofs of shoot to kill? -At 11:00 am the doctors asked for blood donation, so I was helping in taking the blood as this is my field of specialty. -At 1:00 pm I went back to stand with the protests against the military forces and police to prevent them from entering the protest area by putting concretes and thronging them with stones. -At 2:00 pm Hit-and-run attempts were between the police, military forces and the peaceful protests. -At 5:00 pm heavy shooting from military forces and the police against the protests so we were to escape in the hospital and the Mosque. Huge numbers of deaths were at that time. -At 5:30 they were attacking the Mosque and the hospital. Throwing gas until we were up to die. -At 6:00 pm they entered the hospital and Mosque arresting thousands and leave the rest to go out. -At 6:30 pm we left the hospital and Mosques the soldiers were mocking and insulting us. After that they started to burn the Mosque and hospital with all inside including the deceased bodies and injury people. -At 7:00 pm the survivals reach the nearby mosque call Al Iman Mosque, Makaram Uabad Street. -At 7:30 pm we prayed and started to call our people who were with us in the protest to see who is alive from who is dead. -At 8:00pm we got to know that one of my cousins passed away, another disappeared and my brother got shoot in his eye which made him to be blind totally as he was born with one eye blind. -At 8:30 pm we got to know that another cousin of mine got shot in his head and another cousin got shot in his left arm and left leg both had been taken to hospital. -At 9:00 pm we have been informed that we can bring the dead bodies from Rabaa Mosque to Al Iman Mosque (more safer) we went and brought the bodies that we could. -At 10:00 pm around 500 dead bodies were brought in Al Iman Mosque. -At 11:00 pm we slept in front of the Al Iman Mosque in the street to take care of the bodies and to get the burial permit.
Thursday 15 August 2013 -At 6:00 am we divide ourselves into two groups, one for caring about the deceased person and the other to look for our lost cousin. -I was with the group to look for our lost cousin. -At 6: 30 am we went to Rabaa Square to look for our cousin but we could not find him there. – We went to look for our cousin in the Zanhum Mortuary but we could not find him there, and we saw all deceased bodies lying on the floor. While their family struggling to get burial permits which were denied by the officials. They said permits will be given only if the family approved that their sons were committed suicide and had not be killed by the police or the military forces. – When we did not find our cousin in Zanhum mortuary, we started to look for him in other mortuaries, we went to Alhussain, Electricity, Holuplis, Insurance mortuaries but we could not find him, but we found these mortuaries filled with bodies. – After that we went to police station but they denied giving us any info. -At 7:00 we called the other group to know if they got the burial permit, they said: they did not get the permit so we decided to take the corpse to Al dagahleyaa Province our home land, there we got the burial permit.
Friday 16 August 2013 -At 2:00 am we buried my cousin, May God bestow His blessing over him. -We went back to Cairo to look for our missing cousin, we found him being arrested in Al Khalifa police station. Translated by Soultan Yousef Sworn translator, High Court, Case No: 64031/2011 Mobile number 0834641727 Email: email@example.com THE FOURTH COMPLAINANT’S VERSION
- As mentioned above the fourth complainant is the father of the late Asma el Beltagi.
- Seventeen-year-old Asma el-Beltagi had a bright future ahead of her. She was top of her class in school, had a reputation as a gentle and intelligent young woman, and was loved as the daughter of one of Egypt’s first ever democratically elected leaders. Asma is a victim of a war crime and a crime against humanity (as are all those who were murdered at Raba al Adawiya).
- Asma was one of at least 1000 people who were killed on Wednesday 14 August 2013 when Egyptian security forces stormed two Muslim Brotherhood protest camps that, for the past six weeks, had been calling for a reversal of the military coup that ousted Mohammed Morsi and Mr Beltagi, among others, from power.
- Medical reports said that Asma had been shot in the chest, that her skull was crushed and her left leg broken.
- Speaking for the first time, her brother Anas el-Beltagi, described how she had been on her to way to help at a field hospital when she was caught up in the violence. “She was shot on her way there,” he said. “I was with her just after. We took her to hospital. She needed a blood transfer, but we couldn’t operate. She died at 1pm.”
- The authorities in Egypt up to date did not make any investigation into how she was murdered.
- The second complainant has information about 288 persons murdered in the Rabaa massacre which includes basic information (Name –Age –ID) , the medical report and death certificate (including the report concerning Asma). These reports are too prolix to attach to this complaint and are tendered as evidence and will be made available on request. The death certificate and medical report concerning Asma are attached hereto as annexures “6” and “7” respectively.
- The following reports on news channel RT indicate evidence that the accused have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity:
99.1. Source: http://rt.com/news/military-gunfire-mosque-egypt-616/ Date: 17 August 2013
Military fire shots, tear gas at Cairo mosque filled with Islamist protesters“Anti-Morsi protesters and riot police officers gather outside al-Fath mosque at Ramses Square in Cairo August 17, 2013. (Reuters / Louafi Larbi) Download video (8.48 MB) Security forces fired bullets and tear gas at the scene of the Al-Fath mosque in Cairo after an exchange of heavy gunfire outside spilled into the building on Saturday. Hundreds of pro-Morsi protesters had barricaded themselves inside overnight. Egyptian security unleashed a barrage of bullets after gunmen opened fire at security from a second-story window at around 2 pm local time. One lone gunman started shooting from one of the mosque’s minarets, forcing the surrounding crowds to take cover. A small explosion was heard by journalists present at the scene. “Nobody here is safe, they are shooting inside the mosque,” one woman told Al Jazeera by telephone as the mayhem began. Loud firing could be heard in the background. Some foreign journalists were detained by a crowd amid the ensuing shower of bullets. Two Western journalists – Matt Bradley, of The Wall Street Journal, and Alastair Beach, of The Independent – were taken into an army vehicle for their own protection. The mosque was “cleared” just over two hours after the turmoil began, with security forces clearing the area and arresting numerous Muslim Brotherhood supporters, according to state television.”
Watch RT’s Bel Trew’s report from Cairo
“Earlier in the day, soldiers peacefully entered the mosque, apparently to negotiate with protesters. Some protesters subsequently managed to secure a safe exit from the building. Hundreds of Morsi supporters had sought refuge in the building since protests turned violent Friday. The mosque was serving as a field hospital and morgue after the crackdown. Army soldiers react inside a room of al-Fath mosque when supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi exchanged gunfire with security forces inside the mosque in Cairo August 17, 2013. (Reuters / Muhammad Hamed) A Muslim cleric, Sheik Abdel-Hafiz el-Maslami, told AP that people were afraid to exit the mosque from a fear of detention or the possibility of being attacked by the crowd outside. Small groups emerged from the mosque late Saturday morning. The head of the Doctors’ Syndicate told Ahram Online that 1,500 protesters and 31 doctors had asked for a safe exit corridor early in the morning. “They demand a safe exit because they fear if they leave the mosque they will be arrested and humiliated. They want to go out in the presence of human rights representatives, media personnel and members of the Doctors Syndicate to make sure this will not happen,” medic Ahmed Hussein said. The reports of Muslim Brotherhood protestors shooting at the security forces from the minaret of the Al-Fath mosque are false Dr. Saad Amer from the Egyptian Forum in the UK, told RT, calling the army-backed Egyptian government “a lying machine.” “They say that those people in the mosque climbed into that minaret. However, to get on top of that you have to do that from outside. This is the first point. They couldn’t get to the top of it from the inside where they were,” he said. “Secondly, there were some shooting from that towards the police or the military, but there were no casualties from that side. And if you’re shooting from that spot you’re bound to hit some targets,” he added. Earlier, AFP reported that soldiers offered to evacuate women but insisted on questioning men, which the protesters refused. “Thugs tried to storm the mosque but the men barricaded the doors,” the agency quoted one of the people inside the mosque as saying. The Egyptian Army posted a statement on its Facebook page on Saturday, dismissing what it described as “lies and false claims” by Muslim Brotherhood supporters. The army said it had been providing a safe exit corridor to people inside Cairo’s Al-Fath mosque, and said some media agencies had “deliberately falsified the facts.”
REPORTS BY NEWS CHANNEL AL JAZEERAH
- The following reports on Al Jazeerah indicate that the accused have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity:
100.1. Source: http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/08/16/muslim-brotherhood-abuses-continue-under-egypt-s-military Date: 16 August 2013 Author: Dan Williams (Published in the Washington Post)
Muslim Brotherhood abuses continue under Egypt’s military. A military helicopter flies above supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy, in Cairo, on August 16, 2013.“One thing is clear: Egypt has consistently failed to take human rights seriously. After the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, I sometimes wondered how things would have looked if his generals had tried to defend his 30-year regime. Now I know. Cairo is a city under the military gun. Soldiers man checkpoints scattered on main streets. Police vans and riot squads hide in back streets. Supporters of the new order run rampant, in organized — if you can call it that — groups seemingly under the command of teenagers who appear to have an excessive affection for swords. State television runs endless loops of patriotic videos featuring the national anthem and fresh-faced preteen kids frolicking in weirdly litter-free streets, a rarity in Cairo. And then, there is the killing. On Tuesday, according to official sources, at least 635 protesters led by the Muslim Brotherhood were killed, mainly at the hands of police, in Rabaa al-Adawiya Square in east Cairo and Nahda Square near the Cairo Zoo, as well as in other parts of the city and other towns. Presumably in 2011, the army was trying to avert such violence when the generals decided not to storm the tens of thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square but, instead, deposed Mubarak and claimed to set Egypt on a democratic transition. What changed? One element was many Egyptians’ accumulated resentments and fears under Muslim Brotherhood rule. Another may be the ambitions of the military generals. One thing is clear: Egypt has consistently failed to take human rights seriously. After Mubarak fell, the army ruled from February 2011 to June 2012, supposedly to mediate among the newly empowered political forces. It didn’t take long for abuses to surface, most with echoes of the Mubarak past: military trials of civilians, crackdowns on free expression, torture, deadly assaults on civilians protesting military rule. Mohamed Morsi, the candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, won Egypt’s presidential elections and took office in June 2012. It was a new era, but the battering of human rights continued, among them: prosecutions of journalists; unleashing of pro-Brotherhood gangs on demonstrators; perpetuation of military trials; and new laws that permitted detention without judicial review for up to 30 days. Morsi also opted last year to make his own decrees exempt from legal review. If his edicts violated human rights, victims would have no means to challenge the law. Brotherhood leaders have lashed out at Christians for both Morsi’s ouster and the current violence, with the result that pro-Brotherhood mobs in several towns and cities have attacked Christians and burned their churches. The head of Egypt’s armed forces, Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, deposed Morsi on July 3 after huge demonstrations against the president a few days earlier. The coup revived the army’s long-standing, self-declared role of savior of the nation. Even before Tuesday’s bloody violence, excessive and deadly force in dealing with protesters marked Sissi’s new Egyptian order. During a clash between police and rock-throwing protesters on July 27, 74 Morsi supporters were killed. Many of the dead were shot in the head and upper body, suggesting targeted killings rather than genuine crowd control. Egypt’s unhappy past seems to be an inescapable prologue. In 1952, an Egypt in chaos prompted the army to overthrow an unpopular king and set the nation onto a path toward something better. That “better” has been more than 60 years of military rule, with attendant and persistent human rights abuses. It’s hard not to see the current upheaval leading the country further down the same road. Human rights groups in and outside Egypt will appeal to the country’s rulers to protect free speech, freedom of assembly and freedom from arbitrary arrest and wanton killing. But to whom can those appeals be addressed with any effect when human rights have degenerated over the past two and a half years into a kind of situational convenience — useful when you and your allies are the victims of killings, beatings and gassings, but shunted aside when your political enemies bear the brunt of abuses. Only a few months ago, Morsi dismissed anti-government protesters as thugs and unleashed police violence on them. Morsi’s government was also noticeably lax in responding to violent attacks on Christians, Shiite Muslims and other religious minorities. Now the Muslim Brotherhood laments a massacre of its followers at the hands of police and “real” thugs. For a year and a half, demonstrators in Tahrir Square called for an end to military rule and suffered beatings, arbitrary arrests and torture. Now many are lauding the military’s ferocious crackdown on Brotherhood supporters. Oddly in a country as old as Egypt, memories seem very short. That’s not good news.
100.2. Source: http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/egypt-s-disastrous-bloodshed-requires-urgent-impartial-investigations-2013-08-16 Date: 16 August 2013 Author: Amnesty International
Egypt’s disastrous bloodshed requires urgent impartial investigationMore than 600 people have been killed in unprecedented levels of violence by the security forces. Based on the initial testimonies and other evidence we’ve gathered, there seems to be little doubt the security forces have been acting with blatant disregard for human life, and full investigations that are both impartial and independent are urgently needed Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International “There were dozens of dead bodies and hundreds of injured people. They mostly sustained live ammunition wounds to the upper part of the body” A doctor Amnesty International spoke to in Cairo There must be a full and impartial investigation into the violent dispersal of sit-in protests in Cairo this week, where security forces used unwarranted lethal force and broke promises to allow the wounded to exit safely, Amnesty International said today on the basis of its research on the ground. Unprecedented levels of violence have left more than 600 dead around Egypt. The Ministry of Interior reported 43 fatal casualties among security forces. The death toll is expected to climb further as bodies are transferred to official hospitals and morgues. “Based on the initial testimonies and other evidence we’ve gathered, there seems to be little doubt the security forces have been acting with blatant disregard for human life, and full investigations that are both impartial and independent are urgently needed,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International. “While some protesters used violence, the authorities’ response was grossly disproportionate, seemingly not differentiating between violent and non-violent protesters. Bystanders were also caught-up in the violence. “Security forces resorted to lethal force when it was not strictly necessary to protect lives or prevent serious injury – this is a clear violation of international law and standards. Previous promises to use graduated force when dispersing the sit-ins and provide ample warning and safe exits were quickly broken.” On 14 and 15 August, Amnesty International researchers visited numerous hospitals and field hospitals in Cairo, as well as the city’s Zeinhum morgue and a mosque temporarily housing dozens of the dead. They documented scores of deaths, and eyewitness reports from medical staff who described how many of the injured and dead had sustained bullet wounds to the upper body. “There were dozens of dead bodies and hundreds of injured people. They mostly sustained live ammunition wounds to the upper part of the body,” a doctor told Amnesty International. A medical student described how Rabaa al-Adawiya hospital had to be evacuated after security forces entered the building amid heavy tear gas fire, and its first floor was set alight: “The security forces were attacking the hospital. The doctors ordered us to close the curtains and windows to avoid the tear gas. I saw snipers on the roofs of buildings near the hospital, they were dressed in black. Then another doctor told us that the security forces got into the first floor. … . One security officer hit me with the rifle-butt on my back and pushed me towards the stairs. I got out of the hospital. The security forces then told us to take the bodies and patients. The first floor was on fire.” Other eyewitnesses reported that the heavy gunfire outside the hospital prevented the safe exit of the wounded and led to the death of a hospital security guard. A nurse at a field hospital at the Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in told the organization how men in black uniforms threatened her at gunpoint: “There was a gun pointing at me through the window. There were three men, two in black uniforms and one in civilian dress. The civilian screamed at me telling me to open the door, and asking if we had weapons inside… I pleaded with them that there were only injured and dead inside.” Amnesty International is calling for UN experts – especially the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions – to be given access to the country to investigate the circumstances of the violence and the pattern of excessive and unwarranted lethal force used by the Egyptian authorities since the “25 January Revolution”. Given the Egyptian authorities’ poor track record in holding members of the security forces accountable for using excessive, and unwarranted, lethal force against protesters since the “25 January Revolution”, Amnesty International is concerned about the ability of the Public Prosecution to conduct full, impartial and independent investigations. Background As of Friday morning, Egypt’s Health Ministry reported 638 deaths across Egypt. Of these, 288 were in the Nasr City neighbourhood, the site of the main pro-Morsi sit-in at Rabaa al-Adawiya Square. This makes it the bloodiest single incident since the outbreak of the “25 January Revolution” more than two years ago. By contrast, during the 18 days of the “25 January Revolution” in 2011, a total of 846 people were killed, according to official statistics. The dispersal followed repeated threats by the Egyptian authorities to remove pro-Morsi protesters described as “terrorists” endangering “national security”. The smaller Nahda sit-in by Cairo University was cleared relatively quickly, while the operation to disperse the Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in took about 10 hours of protracted clashes. Around Cairo, three media workers were among the dead, and to Amnesty International’s knowledge, at least three female protesters and one child were killed on 14 August. Clashes were reported in Giza and numerous other neighbourhoods across Egypt. Members of the armed forces denied Amnesty International access to the Ta’min al-Sihi Hospital, which reportedly received 52 corpses of those killed in the clashes, including at least one woman. It also dealt with more than 200 injuries – at least half of which required the injured to be hospitalized for treatment. Workers at Cairo’s Zeinhum morgue told Amnesty International that by 10 am on Thursday, 108 autopsies had been carried out, and the facility was overflowing with corpses. On 15 August, Amnesty International researchers visited the Iman Mosque, which was converted into a makeshift morgue after family members brought in relatives killed in the Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in, as well as some of those evacuated from Rabaa al-Adawiya hospital. At the time of the visit, there were 98 dead bodies inside, among them eight charred corpses – it is unknown whether they were burnt alive or after dying. Lists with names of 265 people had been hung on the mosque’s walls. Volunteers said that two more unidentified bodies had been brought in. Egypt’s Minister of Interior justified the security forces’ conduct, claiming that protesters used violence, and that 43 members of the security forces, including 18 officers, were killed across the country, with more than 200 injured. He claimed that the security forces provided warnings, and only used teargas until fired upon by pro-Morsi protesters. Particularly following the dispersals of the sit-ins, some Morsi supporters did use violence, including firearms, and launched attacks on the Giza Governorate building, police stations and security personnel. Police stations in Waraq and Kerdassa were attacked, with police officers captured, killed and beaten. In several instances, members of the security forces were captured and beaten, and one grieving relative told Amnesty International that her cousin, a police officer, was decapitated on 14 August in Giza. Protesters at Rabaa al-Adawiya told Amnesty International that they used rocks and Molotov cocktails and set police vehicles alight in an attempt to prevent the dispersal. Amnesty International also called on the Egyptian authorities to take immediate measures to improve security for Christians and other minorities amid an alarming rise in sectarian violence against Coptic Christians, seemingly in retaliation for their alleged support of the decision to oust Mohamed Morsi – including attacks on churches, businesses and homes in several governorates. The organization has documented previous instances where the security forces have failed to protect Coptic Christian communities from such attacks.
100.3. Source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/08/20138149485257839.html Date: 14 August 2013 Author: Rawya Rageh
Security crackdown kills scores in EgyptAt least 94 people reportedly killed as security forces move to end anti-military protests by supporters of Morsi. Security forces have moved in on two Cairo protest camps set up by supporters of Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi, launching a crackdown that quickly turned into a bloodbath with dozens dead. Conflicting reports have emerged over the number of people killed on Wednesday. However, Al Jazeera’s correspondent counted 94 bodies in Rabaa al-Adawiya’s makeshift hospital, while some members of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood said the death toll was as high as 2,200, with about 10,000 injured. Al Jazeera could not independently verify the Brotherhood’s figure. Ammar Beltagi, the son of Mohammad Beltagi, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, told Al Jazeera his 17-year-old sister, Asmaa, was shot and killed in the Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in in Nasr City. Two journalists were also killed while covering the violence on Wednesday. Mick Deane, a cameraman for the UK-based Sky News channel, and Habiba Abd Elaziz, a reporter for the UAE-based Xpress newspaper, died from gunshot wounds. The Health Ministry has put the figure at 56 people killed, including six members of the security forces, and a further 526 people injured. At least 66 security forces were injured. Live footage from Cairo on Wednesday morning showed smoke engulfing Nahda Square, the smaller of the two sit-ins based in Giza, amid reports of tear gas and birdshots being used on supporters of the deposed president. By mid-morning, the Interior Ministry said security forces had “total control” over Nahda Square, and that “police forces had managed to remove most of the tents” in the area. Security forces had blocked all access to the protest camp. In an afternoon press conference, the cabinet media adviser thanked the security forces for “exercising self-control and high-level professionalism in dispersing the sit-ins,” and held the Muslim Brotherhood responsible for “escalation and violence”. Tear gas and live shots Witnesses said that after firing tear gas into the Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in, pandemonium struck among the thousands of protesters who had set up camp there soon after Morsi was ousted by the army on July 3. Protesters have camped in Cairo demanding the reinstatement of Morsi, who was country’s first democratically elected president and his Freedom and Justice Party was the largest political group in the now dissolved parliament. Clashes quickly erupted between protesters and security forces on one side of the camp, with automatic fire reverberating across the square. It was not immediately clear who was shooting. Al Jazeera’s Rawya Rageh, reporting from Cairo, said: “This battle is much bigger than what you’re seeing and the casualties. This is a fight for the future of the country, and something that will determine the course of the Egyptian revolution that has been going on for two years now. “No one expected this to be an easy operation. It became very clear that both sides were engaged in a battle of wills and a dangerous game of brinkmanship.” Television footage showed the injured being carried to a makeshift medical centre as well as police dragging away protesters, who had defied numerous ultimatums by the army-installed authorities to end their demonstrations. Police barred journalists not already in the camp from entering. In response to the security operation, the Muslim Brotherhood urged Egyptians to take to the streets across the country to “stop a massacre”. Al Jazeera’s D. Parvaz, reporting from a makeshift hospital near the Rabaa sit-in, said that “no one is willing to give up, and that the gunshots are not going to scare them”. She said the hospital, which has been set up in the entrance of a local mosque, has been receiving a steady stream of wounded people. “They are bringing in a steady stream of gunshot victims, of all ages, with wounds everywhere.” “At least four people have died from their wounds in the period I’ve been here.” Meanwhile, reports emerged that at least two police stations in Cairo had been stormed, and several other government buildings were attacked. State television reported that police were on high alert, with prisoners and ammunition being moved to secure facilities, while the Information Ministry called on people to help protect government institutions and police centres which were under attack. International condemnation International condemnation of the violence was swift. The European Union said reports that protesters had been killed were “extremely worrying” and called for restraint from Egyptian authorities. Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul branded the crackdown as “unacceptable”. Germany’s foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, urged supporters of Egypt’s interim government, as well as supporters of Morsi to renounce violence.
100.4. Source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/08/2013817144949638218.html Date: 18 August 2013 Author: Al Jazeera (author unknown)
Egypt forces clear Cairo mosque of protestersSecurity forces clear anti-coup protesters from Fateh mosque near Ramses Square, ending day-long standoff. Egyptian authorities have cleared a Cairo mosque of anti-coup protesters, following a day-long siege punctuated by gunfire, tear gas volleys and mob attacks. The Fateh mosque in Ramses Square was evacuated on Saturday of protesters holed up since violence flared in the square on Friday evening. Police stormed the building on Saturday evening, moving the protesters out and beyond angry crowds who had formed outside. Some reports said many of those removed from the building were taken away in police and military vehicles. Egyptian television channels showed footage of security personnel guarding detained protesters inside the mosque and later leading them away. Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna, reporting from Cairo, said that it was unclear where those who had been removed from the mosque had been taken by police. “There have been various reports about what happened. Witnesses said some had been taken by the army beyond the crowds outside, some were taken into military or police custody.” Authorities later said about 250 protesters were being investigated for murder, attempted murder and terrorism. The police action to clear the building came after security forces claimed to have come under attack from gunmen hiding in the building’s minarets. Television footage showed security forces firing volley after volley at the building and its minarets. The protesters inside the mosque denied any link to those firing at the police, saying there was no access to the top of the minarets from inside the building. One man, Waleed Attar, was among a group who managed to escape the building as gunfire erupted. He told Al Jazeera: “We didn’t know where the bullets were coming from.” He said they managed to flee and avoid “thugs” waiting outside. “We found our way between vehicles before the thugs could trap us, we ran for fear of being shot. Many of those trapped were being assaulted by thugs. They said we would all be slaughtered.” Earlier, speaking to Al Jazeera by phone from inside, protester Omaima Halawa said there was shooting inside and outside the building. Cracks of automatic gunfire and screaming could be heard in the background as she spoke. Halawa said there were about 700 people inside, including women and children. Anti-coup protesters found refuge in the mosque late on Friday after a “day of rage” protests called by opponents of the country’s military-led leadership turned to bloodshed. Reports said at least 95 people were killed in Ramses Square when security forces fired on marchers – the worst violence witnessed on Friday. The Fateh mosque was turned into both a morgue and a field hospital for those injured. At least 173 people were killed and 1,330 others were injured nationwide on Friday, according to a government spokesman. Friday’s marches were organised in response to police action on Wednesday to remove protesters from sit-ins calling for the return of the deposed president, Mohamed Morsi, and the end of military rule. An estimated 600 people were killed in the operation. On Saturday evening, fresh protests were held in the Cairo suburbs of Helwan and Giza, and the city of Alexandria, in defiance of a sunset curfew imposed by the interim regime.
- In a recent article published by MEMO the following report appears:
“Former UN human rights rapporteur John Dugard talks exclusively to MEMO about legal action against Egyptian military regimeShazia Arshad Friday, 16 August 2013 14:59 John Dugard explained that the legal team had gone public very quickly ‘to serve notice on the military regime that their actions are being monitored by international lawyers and that the possibility of international prosecution is being considered’ EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW An international legal team has been appointed by the Freedom and Justice Party and members of the Upper House of the Egyptian Parliament to advise them on the crisis in Egypt which has resulted in the massacre of protesters. Estimates of those killed since the coup d’etat on July 3 2013 range from hundreds to thousands, according to evidence obtained by the Muslim Brotherhood. The teams will comprise of a number of world renowned international lawyers, including Tayab Ali, solicitor and partner at ITN solicitors, Lord Ken Macdonald QC, former Director of Public Prosecutions, Michael Mansfield QC, human rights barrister at Tooks Chambers and Professor John Dugard SC, former UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur. Speaking to MEMO, Professor John Dugard explained that the legal team had gone public very quickly “to serve notice on the military regime that their actions are being monitored by international lawyers and that the possibility of international prosecution is being considered.” He explained that the lawyers would have to assemble all the facts before considering what legal action to take but said there were a number of legal avenues to explore. “The obvious one, at this stage, is the Security Council. We are going to be bringing pressure on the right parties to initiate a request from the Security Council to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court … But obviously this has political difficulties because it will have to be a decision on which all of the members of the Security Council concur and one can’t predict the response of a country like the United States.” He went on to explain that another possible legal avenue could be through universal jurisdiction. “This requires some monitoring of the movements of members of the military regime so that if one of them did visit the UK immediate action could be taken.” Changes were made to universal jurisdiction law in 2010 when the UK government rushed through legislation to prevent the prosecution of Israeli officials for war crimes. However, Professor Dugard explained that these changes may not actually harm any legal action against the Egyptian military. “Previously an individual could lay a charge now it has to be approved by the Director of Public Prosecutions. So if that is done it does mean there is more likelihood of prosecution, so that shouldn’t be seen as an obstacle in a way of universal jurisdiction. It may in some respects facilitate it more properly.” As numerous sources have reported there is a huge disparity in the figures for the number of dead. Professor Dugard said that although a sense of the situation could be gained through the media much more work needed to be done to fully ascertain all the facts on the ground. “We would also like to have a clearer assessment of the facts… a request will be made to see Mr Morsi himself and that would be a very sensitive issue. The possibility of visiting the region is also one that has to be considered but no decision has been taken on that.” On the United States, a swaying vote on the UN Security Council, John Dugard said that he could not predict what decision the Security Council would take as they are always “very difficult”, or what line the US were currently taking. “The United States seems to be in an ambivalent position, because they have indicated that they will discontinue military exercises but continue with military aid. So, that seems to suggest that they are still supporting the military regime” suggesting that the US would not be keen to see investigations at the ICC, though he emphasised that the decision of the UNSC could not be predicted. Professor Dugard went on to highlight a particular interest in the case as being that of the response of the African Union to the military coup. “The African Union has taken a very firm line that it will not recognise military regimes that emerge from a coup and we have not heard anything (further) from the African Union”. Although there are no particular international laws relating to military coups, Professor Dugard noted that coups are normally dealt with by political, rather than legal institutions, such as the UN or the African Union. “As far as the law is concerned we are looking particularly at the question of crime against humanity as that does seem to have been constituted by the actions in Cairo.” “When one talks about the military regime, obviously the head of the military regime has to accept overall responsibility. But at this stage the evidence on who took the decisions and who executed the decisions on the ground is not known and this obviously requires investigation. That’s why we would like to see an investigation carried out by the International Criminal Court because it does have the necessary facilities and staff for that purpose.” Following the killings of protesters in previous military led action since the Egyptian coup some Egyptian families had announced their intention to take legal action over the death of their relatives. Professor Dugard said that any such action would happen in a separate realm to any international legal action but that “the difficulty is that a state of emergency has been declared in Egypt. The main difficulty about the state of emergency is that, in effect, it will remove victims and the families of victims, or remove their legal rights. So I don’t expect that one will see any legal actions in Egypt in the foreseeable future.” Professor Dugard said that he had been “expecting the military to handle the issue with great sensitivity and with an awareness of the fact that there should be very little, limited loss of life. That the military should avoid any suggestion that it was guilty of committing international crimes, but instead the military seems to have gone ahead with very little regard for legal constraints or political constraints, so that has really taken everyone by surprise.” The legal team will now be “exploring the opportunities, the legal opportunities and legal avenues and also we, obviously, want to get an ascertainment of the facts, an assessment of the facts in place.” Professor Dugard noted that the first step would be to “assess the real death toll” as “at present information is not as clear as it might be.” With a legal team now appointed, observers will now be waiting to see how quickly the Egyptian military can be brought to justice following the deaths of thousands of Egyptians at their hands. Tayab Ali, the solicitor coordinating the legal team, said it was “crucial that the actions of the military in Egypt are and thoroughly investigated and that those found to have committed crimes against humanity are arrested and brought within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court without delay.”
Author Robert Fisk Date: August 16, 2013
“Information Clearing House – “The Independent” – How could the dead rest? Their wooden coffins banged against the iron gates of the mortuary, the families shrieked with horror, the cellophane-wrapped corpses were piled high with blocks of ice so massive they could break the bones of the dead. And, as the ice melted in the heat outside the mortuary in streets glistening with mud, so the coffins began to fill with reliquefied blood, a crimson slush at the bottom. “Martyrs” all.And I guess it was then that I realised – as Mohamed Morsi’s enemies must have understood many months ago – that the corpses, the bodies, the cadavers, the “martyrs” – they are the official statement of the Muslim Brotherhood. That’s it. There is no further comment, partly because they cannot speak – Thomas Cromwell, I seem to remember, was among the first to associate silence with the dead – and partly because they do not need to. The police do the shooting and the result – the bullet smashing into the living – becomes the ultimate political policy. From this, there is no end. The Zeinhom area of Sayyidah Zaynab in Cairo is a poor neighbourhood of dirty coffee shops and garbage-littered streets and those distressing Nile mud-cement buildings that lie against each other in the 37C heat. Would it be possible to find a more depressing street for the thousands of angry Brotherhood men and women and their grieving relatives? Families in Cairo sometimes ask to witness the autopsies of their men folk so the cries that filled the hot air in Zeinhom today were more than just rituals of mourning. Some had chosen to see the dead – that ultimate statement – in all their reality. I counted more than 70 corpses, although some coffins were piled atop each other and huge men pushed and shoved their way into the mortuary and stumbled on the ice and those awful cellophane bags. The faces of the dead were concealed beneath the knots of the cellophane bags, their ghastly but invisible presence alleviated from time to time by the relief of seeing pairs of feet still wearing cheap rubber-soled shoes poking from the bottom of the stretchers and resting on the floors of the coffins. There was talk among these men and women of approaching policemen – I never saw them – and of an attack on the Giza governorate on the way to the Pyramids. Set afire, they said with enthusiasm. And so back to the old question. How many dead? Down a side street, I found Abeer Saady, a reporter of Shorouk newspaper, vice-chairperson of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate, watching the crowds before she searched for the body of a colleague, 27-year-old Ahmed Abdul Dawed, a Muslim Brotherhood supporter who worked – irony of ironies – for the government newspaper al-Akhbar. “The Brotherhood wants the figures of dead to be high, the government want the figures low,” she said sadly. “Certainly, they are much more than the 194 the government originally announced. I think perhaps between 350 and 500 dead.” But if I’ve just seen 70 of the dead, I suspect the fatalities may well have touched 1,000. Or more. Other Arab journalists paid the same price as Ahmed Dawed. Habiba Ahmed Abd Elaziz worked for Gulf News but was officially on leave when she was shot dead near the Rabaa al-Adawiyeh mosque in Nasr City. Brotherhood supporters long ago abandoned any affection for local newspapers here but still have time for the infidels of the foreign press. Even so, they were distant in their replies. “Who is this?” I asked of a youth standing beside a body covered in a big keffiyeh scarf. “What does it matter to you?” was his reply. I muttered something stupid, that he was a human being and deserved a name, and the man shrugged. An old man sitting on the lid of a coffin said that a man called Adham lay inside the box. I persisted. Names surely gave reality to the dead. “Mahmoud Mustafa,” another man shouted at me when I pointed to the ice which crushed the mound of his dead son. Another man told me he was guarding the corpse of Mohamed Fared Mutwali, who was 57 when he was killed by the police on Wednesday. Slowly the names brought the dead to life. Then a smart young man who wanted to speak in English but was crying, put his hand on my arm and pointed to another cellophane shape. “This was my brother,” he said. “He was shot yesterday. He was a doctor. His name was Dr Khaled Kamal and he trained in medicine in Beni Suef in Upper Egypt.” And the crowd took up the only word they understood and shouted “doctor, doctor” over and over again. You could not see these things and hear these words and believe that Egypt’s tragedy would be buried with the dead today. And this morning – and how the holiest day in the Muslim week has now, throughout the Arab world, come to be associated with violence as much as prayer – the Brotherhood will remember their dead in the mosques of Cairo and Egyptians will wait for the government’s reaction, the police reaction, the army’s reaction, the response of General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi. Of course, you can try to balance the pain outside the mortuary with the “normality” that the government wants us all to enjoy in Cairo, the open roads, the trucks cleaning up the wreckage of the Nasr City encampment, the scheduled reopening of the rail service between Cairo and Alexandria. But there are small things about the place of the dead which stay in the mind. The man who encourages me to go into the mortuary never stops praying, the cheerful bright blue plastic which lines one coffin and the incongruity of seeing an Etihad Airways label weirdly pasted on one end. In the parallel street, two coffee vendors have been arguing and then fighting and suddenly the roadway is littered with glass and stones as people come out of those grubby apartments – men sympathetic to the government who suddenly believe that the smaller of the two vendors was a Brotherhood sympathiser; then a gang of Morsi men turn up and start chucking stones too. A little microcosmic anarchy to remind you of the fragility of Cairo. It should be good to return to the comparative safety of the old Marriott Hotel on the banks of the Nile. But it is not. No sooner do I reach my favourite Cairo home-from-home than I learn that Ra’ad Nabil – a tourist policeman working for years in the hotel grounds – was walking home across the river in Mohandeseen a few hours earlier when a group of local men threatened him. He drew his gun and fired it in the air. But one of the men seized the weapon and pointed it at Ra’ad Nabil – a harmless man in his early fifties – and shot him in the heart. What, I wonder, does that tell us? Most certainly, another statement. Last words: Victim’s texts with her mother Among the many casualties of Wednesday’s violence in Cairo was a young reporter named Habiba Ahmed Abd Elaziz. Habiba, a 26-year-old Egyptian who was on leave from her job in Dubai, was killed as police cleared the Muslim Brotherhood protest camp in Rabaa. Habiba was one of three reporters killed during the protests. Her mother, Sabreen Mangoud, has since released a series of text messages she exchanged with her daughter on the day of her death. 06:19am Mother: Habiba, what’s going on there? I went to sleep at 1:30, that’s 11:30 your time. What’s with the attack? Habiba: The army and the police are indeed moving around the gates. The media centre was turned into a field hospital and the square is on high alert. Mother: Where are you? Habiba: Only journalists were allowed to remain in the building. I’m supposed to cover the monument in case the battle starts. Mother: The monument is a bit far from Rabia. Habiba: Field security is at every gate now. I am in the media centre. It isn’t far at all in fact, and the door is big and it can be broken through easily. Mother: Are there too many police and army troops? Habiba: Yes, but their movements may also be a “nerve war” tactic. Mother: How will you get to the monument? Habiba: I will walk like everybody else, or run. It depends on the situation. Mother: God help us. 07:33am Mother: What’s new? Habiba: Foreign reporters just got to the centre. Mother: I mean what’s new with the crowds? How are you? Habiba: I took three kinds of medication. It’s very cold here and I’m shivering. Pray for us, mother. Mother: God, keep us steadfast and give us power. God, grant us power over their necks. I entrust you to God the Almighty. Habiba: I’m heading to the platform in a little while. There are tanks there. Mother: God grant us steadfastness. God grant us victory. 12:46pm Mother: Habiba, please reassure me. I’ve called thousands of times. Please, my darling, I’m worried sick. Tell me how you are.
- In Pictures:
In Pictures Killings in Cairo By Scott NelsonAugust 15, 2013 “Information Clearing House – “Al Jazeera” – Nasr City, Egypt – Hundreds of people died as security forces launched a crackdown on supporters of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi. The assault, which began on Wednesday morning, led to bloody clashes around Rabaa al-Adawiya, a centre for demonstrations in the Egyptian capital, Cairo. Injured protesters tried to treat their wounds at make-shift clinics set up by demonstrators. The government has declared a state of emergency and the violence is expected to continue.
/Scott Nelson/Al Jazeera
A pro-Morsi supporter cries over the body of his slain friend at a field hospital inside the Rabaah al-Adawiya protest camp in Nasr City, Egypt during Wednesday’s operation to break-up demonstrations.
/Scott Nelson/Al Jazeera
The bodies of at least nine pro-Morsi supporters lie on a floor at a field hospital inside the Rabaah al-Adawiya protest camp.
/Scott Nelson/Al Jazeera
A pro-Morsi demonstrator holds the helmet of a protestor he says was shot dead earlier by police (a bullet hole and brain tissue was visible on the helmet) as he stands inside a packed field hospital.
/Scott Nelson/Al Jazeera
Women and children pro-Morsi supporters take refuge inside the Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque within the larger protest camp.
/Scott Nelson/Al Jazeera
An injured pro-Morsi supporter is a given first aid at a field hospital.
/Scott Nelson/Al Jazeera
A critically injured pro-Morsi supporter is tried to be kept alive by assisted breathing at a field hospital.
/Scott Nelson/Al Jazeera
Injured pro-Morsi supporters are treated at a field hospital.
/Scott Nelson/Al Jazeera
A wounded pro-Morsi supporter is taken by stretcher to a nearby field hospital inside the Rabaah al-Adawiya protest camp.
/Scott Nelson/Al Jazeera
The wounded lie next to one another on stretchers inside a packed field hospital.
/Scott Nelson/Al Jazeera
Critically injured are given what basic treatment the overwhelmed medical staff could provide inside a packed field hospital.
/Scott Nelson/Al Jazeera
A critically injured man is a given assisted breathing inside a packed field hospital.
/Scott Nelson/Al Jazeera
A Koran sits atop one of the slain pro-Morsi supporters inside a packed field hospital inside the Rabaah al-Adawiya protest camp.
/Scott Nelson/Al Jazeera
A man runs past burning tyres on the edge of the Rabaah al-Adawiya protest camp in Nasr City.
/Scott Nelson/Al Jazeera
A stream of wounded people are treated by overwhelmed emergency staff inside a packed field hospital at the Rabaah al-Adawiya protest camp.
- Below is a list of links to online videos that were taken at the scene of the crimes, this is by no means a closed list as there are thousands of videos of the brutal attacks by government forces available online;
- TESTIMONIES AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL–CAIRO VIOLENCE ON 14 AUGUST 2013
EGYPT: ‘PEOPLE WERE DYING ALL AROUND ME’First published in August 2013 by © Amnesty International Publications 2013 A protester, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals, told Amnesty International that he was securing the Tiba Mall entrance to the sit-in when security forces moved-in at about 6am. He said that he saw at least two armoured vehicles and a bulldozer dismantling the makeshift barriers built by pro-Morsi supporters in anticipation of the dispersal. Based on their uniforms, he assumed that the security forces involved included members of the Central Security Forces (CSF) and Special Forces, both under the Ministry of Interior. He also claimed that two helicopters were flying overhead. He said that he heard a warning through a loudspeaker calling on protesters to vacate the area, but that less than a minute later, tear gas and shotguns were fired in their direction. He received minor shotgun pellet wounds to the shoulder. He claimed that the protesters responded with Molotov cocktails and rocks. He described how the day unfolded: “The situation continued like this until about 12pm. It was non-stop tear gas… and shots were coming from rooftops and the armoured vehicles… Shots were raining down on us…tents around us started burning… I am afraid that those who did not get out of the tents on time burned to death inside… Women, children, and the elderly sheltered either inside the mosque [Rabaa al-Adawiya] or stayed by the podium [on Nasr Street]. “After a short lull around 2pm, the firing resumed… By 4pm, security forces were advancing… At about 4.30pm, a bullet broke the window on the field hospital… I saw a woman being shot while running for shelter… I came under fire myself while carrying a‘martyr’ [a person who had been killed] towards the hospital… It was all over by about 5pm, after they burned the podium, the field hospital, and the mosque.” Another protester described the start of the sit-in dispersal from the entrance on Al-Tayaran Street: “At about 6am, three armoured vehicles approached us on Al-Tayaran Street… There were no verbal warnings, but a few shots were fired in the air… The only verbal warning that I heard all day was at 5pm, when we were told to leave the Square, after it was all over… on Al-Tayaran street, we resisted a lot, and managed to push them [the security forces] back at first… The area saw hours of street fighting… People were dying all around me from the early morning; I saw people shot in the head and chest… Shots were coming from surrounding rooftops and the security [forces] in the armoured vehicles… “At about 11.30am, something hit me and those standing next to me, and I felt an immense burning, like I was on fire [he showed Amnesty International delegates burn marks on his hand and ear]… I quickly went back to the field hospital, where they just put some water on the wounds, and went back as there were far more serious injuries and many dead… “When I got back to Al-Tayaran Street, the tents were burning… I returned to fend off the attack from the Nasr Street entrance, but we were eventually overwhelmed, and people were falling all around me… Visibility was difficult with the tear gas, and clouds of smoke… I left the Square along with the rest of the protesters. It was mainly women, children, and elderlymen… We took the injured with us… I saw some people arrested as well.” A nurse present at the field hospital inside the sit-in throughout the clashes told Amnesty International that the first patients, suffering from shotgun pellet wounds and suffocation from tear gas, were received as soon as the dispersal started, while she documented the first injury from live ammunition at about 7.30am. She said that at about 10am, they moved the field hospital from Hall 1 to Hall 3, adjacent to the mosque, as Hall 1 was engulfed in heavy tear gas, leaving some 40 bodies behind. The situation worsened after 3pm: “There were so many cases of both killed and injured that we lost count. At that stage all the doctors left to go to the main Rabaa Hospital as the number of patients there was overwhelming, and we had no capacity to deal with them in the field hospital… At about 5, there was a gun pointing at me through the window… There were three men, two in black uniforms and one in civilian dress… The one in civilian dress screamed at me, telling me to open the door, and asking if we had weapons inside…I pleaded with them that there were only injured and dead inside, and they did not enter inside.” She said that the injured and dead were eventually collected, mainly by private cars, at 8pm, but that many people had died as a result of delays in receiving appropriate medical treatment. A doctor told Amnesty International of the difficulties experienced in providing people with medical care, given the inadequate equipment and security concerns. He explained: “I was at the Rabaa Hospital until around 4.30, moving between the first four floors to treat people. On each floor there were dozens of dead bodies and hundreds of injured people. They mostly sustained live ammunition wounds to the upper part of the body. We could not treat all those who had been injured, especially those shot had been shot with live bullets, because we were not equipped. Some had been shot in the chest, back, head, legs and belly. I saw the Sky News reporter inside the hospital, shot in the chest. He was then transferred to another hospital. Mohamed el-Beltagy’s daughter, Asmaa Elbeltagy, was also there… She died later… There was another woman who sustained a live bullet to the head, I witnessed both. He also described the dire security situation, including shooting from the rooftop of buildings around the hospital. He said: “They were shooting at the gate of the hospital. I realized this when I was called to go to the field hospital at about 4:30. I went out and a man securing the gate was shot in the head next to me. I ran to the field hospital. There were hundreds injured and dead. I stayed in the field hospital until 7pm. Then I left along with the others because of attacks by the security forces… We headed to Iman Mosque. On our way, I saw a pick-up truck carrying around 20 bodies from Rabaa al-Adawiya in the direction of Iman Mosque. The bodies were charred (burned).” Another medical student who stayed behind at the Rabaa al-Adawiya Hospital described the final moments before security forces entered: “At around 5pm, I heard noise downstairs. I was on the fourth floor. One of the doctors told us that the security forces were attacking the hospital. The doctors ordered us to close the curtains and windows to avoid the tear gas. I saw snipers on the roofs of buildings near the hospital; they were dressed in black. Then another doctor told us that the security forces had got into the first floor and were asking people to leave… The security forces then evacuated people outside of the hospital. “The security forces allowed people to take the injured with them. However, I cannot guarantee that all of the injured were allowed to leave or we had the capacity to transfer all the injured. I went up and tried to tell the security forces that we could not transfer all the injured, as the numbers were too high. One security officer hit me on the back with the butt of their rifle and pushed me towards the stairs. I got out of the hospital. The security forces then told us to take the bodies and patients. The first floor was on fire… I couldn’t go back in, so I left with the rest towards Iman Mosque.” On 15 August 2013, Amnesty International researchers visited the Iman Mosque, which had been turned into a morgue, with bodies lying on the floor. Lists with names of 265 people were hanging of the walls of the Iman Mosque on 15 August 2013, with volunteers telling Amnesty International that two more bodies had also come in without identification. The bodies were brought in by relatives and their supporters from the vicinity of the Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in, including the field hospital, hours after the sit-in was forcibly dispersed by the security forces. Most were brought in by private cars. A member of the Health Directorate was present at the Iman Mosque providing documentation allowing for official burial. He was not conducting full autopsies, but, according to relatives, the documents provided indicated cause of death. Relatives of the dead were in a rush to bury them, particularly in light of the long wait at the Cairo Zeinhum morgue, understaffed and overwhelmed with the extremely high number of casualties. Hours after Amnesty International researchers left the mosque, the security forces dispersed protesters and cleared it. It remains unclear where the remaining bodies were taken –according to those people who stayed at the mosque until the dispersal. Amnesty International researchers visited the site of the Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in on 15 August 2013, where they examined the damage. Bullet holes were visible by the Tiba Mall back entrance to the sit-in, and along Nasr Road. The researchers were prevented by military personnel from entering inside the field hospital area and the Rabaa al-Adawiya Hospital. The field hospital area, Rabaa al-Adawiya Mosque, and surrounding buildings were visibly burned. Soldiers at the scene confirmed that the first floor of the Rabaa al-Adawiya hospital had also been set on fire, corroborating reports from doctors at the scene. Two additional burned bodies were uncovered in the vicinity, according to soldiers guarding the site. Other protesters were shot as they attempted to join the Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in. A pro-Morsi protester interviewed at the Salam Mosque on 14 August 2013 told Amnesty International that he had sustained shotgun pellet wounds to the legs by the Nouri al-Khattab Mosque as he was leading a march from Al-Tayaran Street towards Rabaa al-Adawiya at about9.30am. He said that as they were walking up Al-Tayaran Street, they were confronted with rows of riot police. He claimed that those trying to get him to safety were themselves shot at. A grieving wife told Amnesty International that her husband had left home at about 9.30am to join pro-Morsi marches headed towards Rabaa al-Adawiya in support of those at the sit-in. Thirty minutes later, the family received a call saying that he had been shot dead. by theTa’min al-Sihi Hospital, near Rabaa al-Adawiya. According to relatives and witnesses, another 42-year-old man was shot as he joined a march towards Rabaa al-Adawiya nearSikka al-Hadid. Amnesty International delegates visited the Salam Mosque on 14 August 2013, where they found eight bodies. A protestor in the field hospital in the Mosque, which is near Rabaa al-Adawiya Mosque, told Amnesty International that he had joined a march from Hay El-Asher in Nasr City at 9am. He said the march reached Al-Tayaran Street at 10am where they found the security forces in armoured vehicles shooting tear gas and shotgun pellets. After around 45 minutes, they began shooting live ammunition. At 11.30am, his colleague was shot in the chest and died. He also witnessed another man, who he said was a doctor, shot in the neck. Sky News cameraman Mick Deane was shot and killed in Egypt on 14 August 2013. The daughter of leading Muslim Brotherhood figure Mohamed el-Beltagy was also killed in the violence. See Sky News, “Sky News Cameraman Killed In Egypt”, 14 August 201: news.sky.com/story/1128530/sky-newscameraman-killed-in-egypt Amnesty International, www.amnesty.org REPORT THE UN REPORT
- The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for human rights has published a further report dated 20 December 2013 annexed hereto as annexure “8”.
- The report, the contents of which are incorporated, concludes that the deprivation of the liberty of Mr Morsi and his political advisors is arbitrary and contrary to articles 9, 10 and 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 9 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and requests all states to take remedial action.
NEWS AND OTHER REPORTS
- At the time of drafting this complaint, numerous news and other reports became available for use by the complainants as further amplification of the complaint. These are annexed hereto and marked annexures “9”, “11” and “12” respectively hereto.
- This complaint and its contents is supported by resolution 240.
- The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, meeting at its 14th Extra-Ordinary Session, held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 20 to 24 July 2013 resolved as follows:
110.1. Recalling its mandate to promote and protect human and peoples’ rights on the African Continent pursuant to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter);
110.2. Considering that the Arab Republic of Egypt is a Party to the African Charter and has committed itself to securing human and peoples’ rights within its territory;
110.3. Having regard to its previous resolutions on the human rights situation in the Arab Republic of Egypt, in particular ACHPR/RES.14 (XVI) 94 and ACHPR/RES.179 (EXT.OS/IX) 2011;
110.4. Further Considering that the Arab Republic of Egypt is in a critical period of transition towards democracy and facing fundamental challenges in the fields of the rule of law, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and social justice:
110.5. Further Considering the relevant African Union (AU) instruments on unconstitutional changes of Government, notably the Lomé Declaration of July 2000 and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance of January 2007;
110.6. Recalling the removal from power of the democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi and the suspension of the Constitution;
110.7. Deeply concerned by the human rights violations resulting from these events, in particular arbitrary arrests, detention and the use of force and violence by the parties concerned;
110.8. Deeply concerned that the situation in the Arab Republic of Egypt threatens the stability of the country and the cohesion of its people, with far-reaching national and regional consequences;
110.9. Considering that respect for human rights and freedoms, social justice, including space to freely participate in the political and economic affairs of the State by its citizens are critical elements of the transition towards an open, stable, democratic, free and prosperous Egyptian society;
- Calls Upon:
(a) All Egyptian stakeholders to embrace the spirit of constructive dialogue and to condemn and refrain from all acts of violence and vandalism against public and private property;
(b) The Egyptian army and security forces to immediately end all acts of violence, repression, harassment, arbitrary arrests and detention;
(c) The transitional Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt to conduct impartial and transparent investigations into all cases of death, torture, degrading treatment and harassment of peaceful protestors, and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice; and
(d) The transitional Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt to expedite actions to return the country to democratic rule;
- Appeals to all AU partners to lend their full support to AU’s efforts and to work towards a coordinated approach on the situation. The AFRICAN UNION Press release of 3 July 2013 lends further credence to the legitimacy of this complaint. It records as follows:
“Addis Ababa, 3 July 2013: The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, is closely monitoring the developments in Egypt. She is particularly concerned about the tension prevailing in the country and the risks that this situation poses to stability and security in Egypt as well as to the consolidation of its democratic process. The Chairperson of the Commission, recalling the AU principled position on unconstitutional changes of government, underlines the need for all Egyptian stakeholders to work towards a resolution of the current crisis through dialogue, in order to find an appropriate response to the popular aspirations within the framework of legality and Egyptian institutions. In so doing, the aim should be to preserve the achievements of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 and those of the democratic process, as well as to reach a national consensus on the future of the country. The Chairperson of the Commission, stressing AU’s commitment to contribute to a peaceful resolution of the current crisis, intends to dispatch to Egypt, as soon as possible, a group of eminent African personalities to consult with the Egyptian stakeholders and assist in the initiation of a responsible and constructive dialogue that would help the fellow Egyptian people overcome the difficult situation they are facing.”SUBMISSIONS
- Article 56 provides that: Communications relating to Human and Peoples’ rights referred to in Article 55 received by the Commission, shall be considered if they:
113.1. Indicate their authors even if the latter requests anonymity,
113.2. Are compatible with the Charter of the Organisation of African Unity or with the present Charter,
113.3. Are not written in disparaging or insulting language directed against the State concerned and its institutions or to the Organisation of African Unity,
113.4. Are not based exclusively on news disseminated through the mass media,
113.5. Are sent after exhausting local remedies, if any, unless it is obvious that this procedure is unduly prolonged,
113.6. Are submitted within a reasonable period from the time local remedies are exhausted or from the date the Commission is seized with the matter, and
113.7. Do not deal with cases which have been settled by those States involved in accordance with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, or the Charter of the Organisation of African Unity or the provisions of the present Charter.
- The complainants submit that these requirements have been satisfied.
- The crimes and violations that the complainants have detailed in this compliant constitute crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crimes of aggression.
- There have been substantial violations of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the other international instruments to which Egypt is a party.
- The legitimate government has been deposed in an illegal coup. The members of such government have been unlawfully detained and their due process rights have been undermined.
- The following rights contained in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights have been undermined by the accused:
118.1. Freedom of conscience, the profession and free practice of religion shall be guaranteed. No one may, subject to law and order, be submitted to measures restricting the exercise of these freedoms.
118.2. The right to assemble freely with others, which is subject only to necessary restrictions provided for by law, in particular those enacted in the interest of national security, the safety, health, ethics and rights and freedoms of others.
118.3. The right to participate freely in the government of his country, either directly or through freely chosen representatives in accordance with the provisions of the law.
118.4. The right to liberty and to the security of his person. No one may be deprived of his freedom except for reasons and conditions previously laid down by law. In particular, no one may be arbitrarily arrested or detained.
118.5. The right to equality and to enjoy the same respect and have the same rights. Nothing shall justify the domination of a people by another.
118.6. The right to existence, the unquestionable and inalienable right to self-determination, and the right to freely determine their political status and pursue their economic and social development according to the policy they have freely chosen.
118.7. State Parties to the present Charter have the duty to guarantee the independence of the Courts and to allow the establishment and improvement of appropriate national institutions entrusted with the promotion and protection of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the present Charter. Every individual has the duty to respect and consider his fellow beings without discrimination, and to maintain relations aimed at promoting, safeguarding and reinforcing mutual respect and tolerance
- The most fundamental right of all rights – the right to life – has been undermined in the most egregious manner.
- The dignity of those affected has been outraged. Their universal due process rights have been undermined and their right of choice of government has been nullified by the illegal coup. See annexure 8 GENERAL ASSEMBLY OPINION ADOPTED BY THE WORKING GROUP OF ARBITRARY DETENTIONS 13-22 November 2013
- There have been contraventions of the right to life and there have been treacherous killing and wounding of civilians.
- The accused persons are in control of the illegal Egyptian government army and police and exercised effective control over their doings.
- The accused committed the crimes with intent and knowledge. They meant to murder and meant to assassinate those affected.
- They foresaw the consequences of civilian injury and they were aware that it would occur in the ordinary course of events and that their conduct would cause suffering to civilians which was disproportionate and unlawful.
- Basic fair trial rights have been violated.
- Therefore, since all the requirements under Article 56 have been met, the African Commission should declare this Communication Admissible. (see too Communication 334/06 – Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and Interights v Arab Republic of Egypt).
- Article 45 of the Charter deals with the mandate of the Commission. Article 45(2) has as one of the functions of the Commission: Ensure the protection of human and people under conditions laid down by the present Charter. Article 46 provides that the Commission may resort to any appropriate method of investigation; it may hear from the Secretary General of the Organisation of African Unity or any other person capable of enlightening it. Rule 60 (5): In the case of a mission for protection activities, the mission report shall be sent to the members of the delegation. Rule 81(1): If it deems it necessary and advisable, the Commission may carry out a protection mission to a State Party.
- Accordingly the complainants/authors request the Commission to undertake an urgent protective mission together with such recommendations as the Commission may make
- Considering the serious and widespread nature of human rights violations currently occurring in Egypt and mindful of Rule 119.4 of the Interim Rules of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights as well as Article 5 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the complainants call on the Commission in addition to urgently seize the Court with the case presented hereunder and to seek appropriate relief ( inter alia on the grounds of universal jurisdiction principles) including
129.1. Declaratory orders that the rights set out herein have been violated.
129.2. Compensation for all victims
129.3. The unbanning of the Muslim Brotherhood and release of all prisoners including the legitimate elected Morsi government officials
129.4. The reinstatement of the duly elected government
129.5. The investigation and prosecution of the accused for murder, war crimes and crimes against humanity at an international or regional tribunal such as the African Court and / or International Criminal Court.
129.6. Further to the above and or in the alternative, the African Union and relevant authorities must launch an investigative commission in order to formulate a report on the numerous human rights abuses as detailed in this complaint.
129.7. Further and/or Alternative relief
- Attach hereto are the following supporting Annexures:
ANNEXURE 1 – MLA (MUSLIM LAWYERS ASSOCIATION) CONSTITUTION
ANNEXURE 2 – WORK PERMIT OF SECOND COMPLAINANT (MOHAMED REDA ELHENEDAWI ELORABI)
ANNEXURE 3 – ICFR REPORT 5 -10 JANUARY 2014
ANNEXURE 4 – ICFR REPORT 11 – 14 MARCH 2014
ANNEXURE 5 – ARABIC STATEMENT WITH ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF SECOND COMPLAINANT
ANNEXURE 6 – DEATH CERTIFICATE
ANNEURE 7 – MEDICAL REPORT
ANNEXURE 8 – GENERAL ASSEMBLY OPINION ADOPTED BY THE WORKING GROUP OF ARBITRARY DETENTIONS 13 – 22 NOVEMBER 2013
ANEXURE 9 – COPIES OF NEWS REPORTS
ANNEXURE 10 – PHOTOGRAPHS OF SECOND COMPLAINANT
ANNEXURE 11 – COPIES OF NEWS REPORTS
ANNEXURE 12 – A STATEMENT BY THE INTERNATIONAL COALITION FOR
FREEDOMS AND RIGHTS (ICFR) REGARDING COURT DECISION TO SENTENCE 529 ANTI-COUP EGYPTIANS TO DEATH DATED 01 APRIL 2014
1ST FLOOR, OSGO BUILDING,
NO. 7 BONANZA STREET,
EXTENSION 19, JOHANNESBURG.