Worst Mass Killings in Country's Modern History: HRW

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is investigating the Egyptian army’s crackdown on sit-ins at Rabaa al-Adawiya in Nasr City and at Nahda in Giza, and other parts of Cairo

Worst Mass Killings in Country's Modern History: HRW

World Bulletin / News Desk

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is investigating the Egyptian army’s crackdown on sit-ins at Rabaa al-Adawiya in Nasr City and at Nahda in Giza, and other parts of Cairo.

In a statement on the official website of HRW it was reported that the HRW interviewed 41 protesters, doctors, and residents from Rabaa al Adawiya and Nahda, and the HRW staff visited the Rabaa al-Adawiya Medical Center during the dispersal and later visited hospitals and morgues in Nasr City and Giza.

The investigation of HRW indicates that the decision to use live ammunition on a large scale was a failure in observing basic international policing standards on use of lethal force. The statement also suggested that the decision to use live ammunition could not be justified by the disruptions caused by the demonstrations or the limited possession of arms by some protesters.

In the statement it was reported that the police stationed on the roof of the nearby military intelligence building started shooting live ammunition simultaneously with the movement of the riot police on the sit in from entrance next to the Tiba Mall on Nasr Street at 6:45 a.m. on August 14. It was also stated that a doctor at the sit-in clinic told Human Rights Watch that he received a first patient injured by live ammunition at 7 a.m.

It was also stated that protesters were not also provided with safe exit from the sit-in, including the people wounded by live fire and needing urgent medical attention which is also a serious violation of international standards because shooting continued over the following 10 hours until 5 p.m. “Security forces failed to plan the operation to minimize the risk to life, including by ensuring safe exits and giving public orders not to kill except in a targeted manner when absolutely necessary,” said the HRW statement.

Stating that it was not possible to establish whether the first use of live ammunition came from the side of security forces or protesters, HRW stated that firing by protesters does not justify using massive lethal force against largely unarmed protesters with such a quick resort.

It was stated that both protesters and the journalist who spoke to HRW and were there from the beginning of the crackdown claimed that they could not find any of the exits after the security forces had started firing tear gas because of heavy gunfire coming from the direction of security forces.

Based on witnesses and video of the protests, as well as observations by Human Rights Watch staff, it was indicated that the vast majority of the protesters were unarmed, but still some carried iron bars and a few fired guns. Therefore, it was defended in the statement that the police unlawfully killed protesters who were clearly not engaged in any form of violence.

“No safe exit for wounded”  

It was claimed that when the HRW staff were at the Rabaa al Adawiya hospital, there had been constant gunfire shots through the building by security forces. It was also stated that the live fire at the entrance to the medical center meant that the wounded had no safe way of getting medical help. Constant fire from rooftop security forces towards the mosque and buildings adjacent to the clinic prevented medical staff from saving lives over that ten-hour period, Human Rights Watch said.

“Declaration of state of emergency wrong signal”

Touching upon the declaration of curfew August 14 and a one-month state of emergency, the HRW said “while some curfews may be legitimate and proportionate measures to reduce severe violence on the streets, the state of emergency sends precisely the wrong signal; Security forces will read it as license for additional reckless and unlawful use of force, particularly given the long history of abuses carried out under states of emergency in Egypt."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Ağustos 2013, 12:25