Forced dispersion of Morsi backers potential 'crime against humanity'

The rights groups added that "all means of persuasion, negotiations and mediation should be exercised first before resorting to the security option"

Forced dispersion of Morsi backers potential 'crime against humanity'

World Bulletin/News Desk

Egyptian human rights groups have rung the alarm against the use of force in dispersing ousted President Mohamed Morsi's supporters camped out in Cairo and Giza, warning that any bloodshed could constitute a "crime against humanity".

"The random use of force only breeds scores of victims," ten rights groups said in a joint statement, a copy of which was obtained by Anadolu Agency on Friday.

The Egyptian government says sit-ins staged by Morsi's supporters in both Cairo and Giza are a threat to the country's national security and also caused terror to citizens.

It had mandated the Interior Ministry – which controls Egypt's sprawling police apparatus – to take the necessary measures to put an end to the twine sit-ins.

"The main duty of security forces is to ensure public safety, prevent unrest and protect rights," the rights groups said, adding that "all means of persuasion, negotiations and mediation should be exercised first before resorting to the security option".

The groups reminded state authorities "that they have a duty to abide by legal tools and international standards in dealing with protests, even if they were violent ".

At least 88 people were killed in attacks between pro-Morsi demonstrators and security forces near the Rab'a al-Adaweya Square last week.

But medics at a field hospital set up in the square say at least 66 supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi were killed and 61 others "clinically dead".

While the Muslim Brotherhood accused security forces of opening fire at its unarmed supporters, police denied using live ammunition against the protesters, insisting they had only used teargas to disperse the crowds.

More than 51 pro-Morsi demonstrators had also been killed last month outside the Republican Guards compound in Cairo with the Muslim Brotherhood accusing army troops of targeting the protesters during their Fajr prayers.

But the army said that a "terrorist group" had tried to storm the compound and killed an officer and injured 40 soldiers.

The rights groups warned that bloodshed during any major operation "could constitute a crime against humanity, which brings participants from troops to officials to accountability".

They also urged the protest organizers to "take all necessary measures to prevent the flow of arms into the sit-ins and prevent the use of violence against representatives of the State, residents or anyone in the vicinity of the protest site".

A host of political parties and public figures have earlier vocalized fears that a possible use of force to disperse Morsi's supporters would lead to a bloodbath.

The Salafist Nour party, which backed a military-imposed roadmap that removed Morsi from power, had called on the security agencies to "respect the sanctity of blood," warning of a potential pool of blood.

Al-Watan, another Salafist party, said the forcible dispersal of the sit-ins would be "a violation of law, constitution and international norms".

Al-Wasat party urged the world's parliamentarians to visit to the two sit-in sites to stand on the facts on the ground and ensure that the pro-Morsi demonstrators are peaceful and don't pose any threat to Egypt's national security.

Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya insisted that the real threat to national security was "shedding the blood of peaceful protesters".

Several prominent public figures also warned against the use of force.

"The government has to deal very cautiously with protests," Seif al-Din Abdel-Fattah, a political science professor at Cairo University, told AA.

Abdel-Fattah, a one-time advisor for Morsi, insisted that the current crisis was political in nature.

"This is why it is important to find political solutions without shedding blood, given the large number of victims who had fallen over the past few days."

He lashed out at what he described as the "reemergence of the police state" in Egypt through the use of security solutions for political problems.

He said more people will take to the streets as more victims fall, expecting the interim government to succumb to what he called international pressure, particularly when it comes to the use of force with demonstrators.

Prominent Salafist preacher Sheikh Mohamed Hassan also issued a similarly stern warning against the use of force in dispersing Morsi's backers.

"The shedding of blood is what threatens Egypt's national security," he said in a video aired on Thursday.

He called on Egypt's political rivals to offer concessions so that Egypt can get out of the current crisis.

Political sociology professor Saeed Sadek agrees, saying the use of force in dispersing demonstrators entails "enormous perils".

He said the government should gradually handle the protests before directly intervening to disperse them, noting there was no proof yet of the presence of arms among pro-Morsi demonstrators.

Political science professor Nadia Mustafa has called on Egypt's intellectuals, rights activists and civil society groups to form human shields to prevent what she called "a river of blood".

"Go out to defend humanity and principles and forget about all illusory pretexts," she wrote on her Facebook page.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Ağustos 2013, 12:44