Feb. 22, 2012
*Over 100 protesters killed in last five months
*Recently-imported US tear gas played a key role in excessive response
A year after the uprising, Egypt’s security forces continue to kill protestors with the same brutal tactics used in Hosni Mubarak’s last days in power, Amnesty International said after concluding that riot police used excessive force in policing recent protests in Cairo and Suez.
The protests earlier this month followed the Port Said tragedy in which more than 70 supporters from Al-Ahly club were killed after a football match on 1 February. In Amnesty’s view, between 2 and 6 February the Ministry of Interior’s Central Security Forces (riot police) used excessive force as they dispersed the protests, killing at least 16 people and injuring hundreds of others in the process.
Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said:
“The behaviour of the security forces in dealing with these protests is unfortunately very reminiscent of a time many Egyptians thought they had left behind after the ‘25 January Revolution’.
“Promises of reform of the security forces continue to ring hollow in the face of the killing of more than a hundred protesters in the last five months.
“Not only have the authorities not reformed the security forces, but evidence of the use of rubber bullets and live ammunition is met with denial and accusation of foreign interference by Egyptian officials.
“Police should not use firearms against persons except in self-defence or defence of others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury. Intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.
“Security forces have a duty to restore law and order, however, the recent use of excessive force by the security forces show a complete disrespect for human life.
“It is now very clear that the newly-elected parliamentary assembly must urgently tackle the long overdue reforms to the way security forces have been policing demonstrations.
“Unless the Egyptian security apparatus is reformed with the aim of providing security and upholding the right to peaceful protest, we fear more bloodshed will follow.”
Previous calls for reform of the security sector only led to piecemeal changes while the authorities continued to inappropriately use teargas and live ammunitions.
The Egyptian authorities ostensibly announced investigations into incidents leading to the killing or severe injury of protesters. Yet no lessons were learnt and no clear instructions seem to have been given to the security forces, including military personnel, to uphold the right to peaceful assembly and to police demonstrations in line with international standards.
Lethal force was used without prior warning to disperse protesters in Cairo and Suez who were, for the most part, peacefully demonstrating and chanting. Some protestors were, however, throwing stones at the security forces and Amnesty heard occasional reports of protesters throwing Molotov cocktails at the riot police. In rare incidents, shotgun ammunition and fireworks were also fired at riot police.
The Cairo University Hospitals alone received some 269 injured people during the protests as well as seven of the 11 deaths that took place in the capital. Most of those injured were suffering from tear gas inhalation or injuries from shotgun pellets, which, in some cases, caused rupture to the eye globe. In one case, a protester died from shotgun ammunition after a pellet reached his brain. Two others died from gunshots to the head and one from a gunshot to the stomach.
Full Article Here – http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=19958&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=newsfeed&utm_source=social