Amnesty International urges comprehensive, unbiased investigation into Egypt massacre

LONDON, August 20, 2013 (AA)

Amnesty International has requested that a comprehensive and unbiased investigation immediately be conducted regarding the violence in Egypt.

In a statement, the amnesty organization expressed that, according to the evaluation prepared by its officials after their assessment of the situation in Cairo, the Egyptian “security forces used unwarranted lethal force and broke promises to allow the wounded to exit safely,” especially during the dispersal of demonstrations in Cairo this week.

Noting that the official death toll is expected to continue rising, the organization calls for United Nations (UN) officials to be granted permission to enter Egypt in order to conduct an investigation on the violence in the country.

Amnesty International’s statement also urges Egyptian officials to take urgent precautions so as to improve the security of Christians and other minority groups.

-Security forces used “unwarranted lethal force”-

The statement included the following expressions of Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Director Philip Luther:

“Full investigations that are both impartial and independent are urgently needed.

“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.”

-”One security officer hit me with the rifle-butt on my back ”-

Amnesty International said that officials had gathered evidence by visiting several hospitals, mosques and morgues. One doctor is quoted as saying, “There were dozens of dead bodies and hundreds of injured people. They mostly sustained live ammunition wounds to the upper part of the body.”

The organization’s report also incorporated statements from eyewitnesses about the dispersion of the field hospital at Rabaa al-Adawiya Square. A medical student stated:

“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.”

Drawing attention to how security forces prevented Amnesty International officials from entering Ta’min al-Sihi Hospital, the report explains that they visited the Iman Mosque, which had been turned into a makeshift morgue and housed 98 corpses, with lists containing the names of 265 deceased individuals hanging on the walls.

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