Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sisi for president slogans dominate Jan 25 events


Pictures of Defense Minister General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi donning civilian clothing dominated celebrations at the Ettehadiya Presidential Palace in Heliopolis on Saturday, reported the state-owned Middle East News Agency (MENA).
Calls for the man of the hour to run for president marked the commemoration of the January 25 anniversary in Cairo and elsewhere.
Large banners with Sisi’s picture were set up next to stages blasting popular pro-army song, “Teslam al-Ayadi,” around the presidential palace.
MENA boasted that the main stage was equipped with 30 amplifiers and 28 spotlights and that the festivities were being filmed by two camera cranes.   
Police and Armed Forces cordoned off the area, securing the entrances with checkpoints where they searched those joining the celebrations while marches calling for Sisi’s candidacy arrived at Ettehadiya.
Later in the day singer Ihab Tawfik took to the stage, giving an impassioned speech about defeating fear and continuing celebrations and pleading with Sisi to become president through song.
In downtown's Tahrir Square and Abbasseya the mood was also celebratory, with protesters holding up posters of Sisi and Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim while dancing to the pro-military song.
Other governorates also used the anniversary as an opportunity to reiterate calls for the defense minister to announce his candidacy.
In Alexandria, huge posters showed a picture of Sisi amidst rulers of Arab countries that support the current military-backed government. Slogans surrounding the posters called for Arab unity.  

Egypt's "roadmap to democracy" is nothing but a mirage

By:Samira Shackle
When the Arab Spring protests swept Egypt in 2011 and ousted Hosni Mubarak after decades of dictatorial rule, it seemed that the country was on the road to democracy. But the journey has been long and fractious. Three years after the 25 January revolution that toppled Mubarak, the country is essentially back under military rule. In July 2013, the elected president Mohamed Morsi, who headed the Muslim Brotherhood's political wing, was forced out of office by the army after weeks of mass protests. The generals behind the current interim government insist that Egypt's "roadmap to democracy" is on track – but is that really the case?
A report by Amnesty International, released today to coincide with the three year anniversary of the 2011 revolution, does not seem to think so. Entitled "Roadmap to repression: no end in sight to human rights violations", its verdict on the current regime is damning. The report says that since Morsi was ousted in July, the Egyptian authorities have used every resource possible to eliminate dissent and undermine human rights. It says that state violence over the last seven months has been on an "unprecedented scale".
According to the report, 1,400 people have been killed in political violence since Morsi was forced out of office. It notes that there has been "no proper investigation" into the deaths of more than 500 Morsi supporters in August. The deaths – described by some media outlets as a "massacre" – happened when the army dispersed a sit-in protest of Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Rabaa al-Adawiya square.
"Instead of reigning in the security forces, the authorities have effectively handed them a mandate for repression," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa deputy director. "Once again in Egypt, the rhetoric of 'countering terrorism' is being used to justify sweeping crackdowns that fail to distinguish between legitimate dissent and violent attacks."
Legislation has been introduced making it much easier for the government and security forces to crack down on protests and quell dissent. These restrictions on public gatherings and demonstrations pose a serious threat to freedom of assembly. They also give security forces a mandate to use excessive force against peaceful protesters, something which has been seen repeatedly.
Last week, Egypt went to the polls to ratify the interim government's draft constitution. According to officials, it was backed by 98.1 per cent of those who voted in the referendum (with turnout just below 40 per cent of the 53 million eligible voters). It replaced the constitution introduced by Morsi and his Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement. It removed some of the religious provisions; but entrenched the power of the army. Members of the Brotherhood have described it as a "farce".
In a speech last weekend, following the vote, President Adly Mansour said that the newly adopted constitution paved the way for building a country that "respects freedom, democracy and makes rights and justice a way of work and life".
These are laudable goals; yet if the Amnesty report is anything to go by, these words are very far from reality. Central to the original 25 January revolution in 2011 were the demands of basic dignity and human rights. Today, several of the key figures of that movement are in prison, a striking comment on how far away these goals are from realisation. The interim government began by cracking down on the supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, rounding up and arresting those who criticised Morsi's ouster. In December, the Brotherhood was officially classified as a "terrorist organisation", making this oppression even easier. The net has been cast wide: on 23 December, at least 1,055 charities affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood had their assets frozen. Recently, the clampdown has been extended to secular activists, with several of those calling for accountability and human rights being jailed. Hundreds of students have been arrested during protests and clashes. Meanwhile, media freedom has been significantly restricted.
One of the main grievances of those who protested against Morsi in June 2013 was that despite being democratically elected, he was not behaving pluralistically or democratically. The army stepped in, but clearly, the interim government has done nothing to enforce these ideals, instead going to the other extreme by reducing rights and eliminating dissent. The so-called "roadmap to democracy" – much touted by the army chief and the technocrats in his interim government – seems to be nothing but a mirage.

Bahar denounces PA invitation to Netanyahu to deliver speech in PLC headquarters

On Saturday deputy PLC speaker Ahmed Bahar refused the Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas' invitation to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to deliver a speech at the PLC headquarters in Ramallah.
"This is against the aims of national unity," Bahar said in a press release sent to MEMO. "This opposes Palestinian ethics and the principles of Palestinian politics."
Bahar called on Abbas to allow the PLC speaker Aziz Dowaik to enter the PLC office instead of calling on the Israeli Prime Minister.
The London based newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabireported that Abbas said on Wednesday he was ready to deliver a speech in the Knesset and he also welcomed Netanyahu in delivering a speech before the PLC members in Ramallah.

Netanyahu at Davos: Arab 'partners' don't see Israel as enemy, but rather Iran and Muslim Brotherhood

In an interview during the 44th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland (January 22-25, 2014), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned that the current Arab regimes share the same concerns as Israel regarding Iran's nuclear program and the spread of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Referring to current Arab governments, Netanyahu said "They don't see Israel as their enemy. But in many ways - if not allies - as their partners in holding back these two threats."
"This is a shift. This is a point in time where we could get more Arab support for a reasoned solution between Israel and the Palestinians than we had before, principally because they really want to have a partnership with all the countries in the middle east against these real threats," Netanyahu added.

Egypt: Military-backed government bans last opposition newspaper

The Egyptian military-backed interim government decided Friday to ban El-Shaabnewspaper, the last opposition newspaper operating in Egypt after the July 3 military coup.
El-Shaab is owned by The Independence Party. It is considered the last newspaper opposing the military overthrow of Egypt's first democratically-elected president Mohamed Morsi.
Interim Prime Minister Hazem Al-Beblawy said that the government filed a complaint with the Public Prosecutor against El-Shaab newspaper "because its writings threaten national security".
"The newspaper has been suspended because of its unprofessional practices and its explicit incitement to violence and terrorism against the state," Al-Beblawy told the pro-military Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper.
The newspaper is published by the "New Labour Party" which changed its name two months ago to "the Independence Party". It had also been shut down by the Mubarak regime in 1990.
Magdy Hussein, the chief editor of El-Shaab, said he did not receive any confirmation from authorities regarding the closure.
"However, it not surprising for putschists to crackdown on media freedom and confiscate media outlets," he said.
"We have been expecting this decision all the time and we considered every issue to be the last issue.
"The revolution will not be hindered with the closure of a newspaper. We will continue our work online which targets a wider audience.
"Coup authorities are the biggest losers because otherwise they would have been able to claim they allowed a narrow margin of freedom and democracy," Hussein concluded his remarks.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Security forces crack down on MB members ahead of referendum
Security forces launched a crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood members on Monday, accusing them of plotting to obstruct voting in the constitutional referendum scheduled to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Fourteen people affiliated with the Brotherhood were arrested in Sharqiya on charges of belonging to a banned terrorist organization, reported the state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram.
The detainees were also accused of planning to incite violence during the referendum to "terrorize citizens and prevent them from participation in the voting process,” Al-Ahram said.
One unnamed citizen was arrested in Qalyubia’s Qanater district on Monday on charges of possessing 14 bombs, four explosive devices, five machine guns and rounds of live ammunition, Al-Ahram reported. Large amounts of cash were also confiscated during the arrest.
The defendant was reportedly taken to "sovereign security bodies" for investigations to identify the group that was financing him. Previous investigations allegedly indicated that the individual had been plotting terrorist attacks to take place on Tuesday in collaboration with unknown assailants.
Another suspect was also arrested in Alexandria for allegedly planning to carryout a terrorist suicide bombing, the privately owned daily Al-Masry Al-Youm (AMAY) reported, quoting the Ministry of Interior.
Security forces raided a home in Alexandria’s Amreya district after hearing a strong explosion. Police forces said explosives, chemicals, uniforms similar to those of the Armed Forces and books authored by Muslim Brotherhood scholars were confiscated during the raid, AMAY reported.
Meanwhile, a "security campaign" in Alexandria arrested nine members of the former ruling Islamist organization, again accusing the suspects of belonging to a terrorist organization, reported the state-owned Middle East News Agency (MENA).
MENA also reported that five students allegedly belonging to the Brotherhood in the northern city of Benha were arrested after residents accused them of using Molotov cocktails to threaten residents and "terrorize" them out of voting in the referendum.
The defendants allegedly organized a march denouncing the draft constitution and tore down posters urging a “yes” vote on the charter. Five Molotov cocktails, two unlicensed motorcycles and other pieces of evidence were confiscated during a security raid that led to the suspects’ arrest.
In the southern city of Minya, 11 Brotherhood members were arrested for allegedly attempting to bribe citizens to vote “no” on the constitution, MENA reported.
The defendants were allegedly offering Minya residents money in exchange for their ID cards, so that they could use them to cast fraudulent “no” votes, security sources claimed.
The National Alliance to Protect Legitimacy, an umbrella group headed by the Muslim Brotherhood in opposition to the military-backed interim government, reiterated its call for a boycott on the referendum.
In an official statement, the alliance said that "the bloody referendum" collapsed during the expatriate voting process, referring to the low turnout among Egyptians voting abroad.
The statement called on Egyptians to "continue collapsing the bloody referendum with civilized and peaceful means, and inspiring a revolutionary boycott to amaze the world.”

Egypt: Activists Arrested for ‘No’ Campaign

(New York) – At least seven peaceful activists from the Strong Egypt party face criminal charges, apparently for hanging posters calling for a “no” vote in the forthcoming constitutional referendum. During interrogations with prosecutors and police, questions fixated on the posters and the men’s political views. The constitutional referendum will be held on January 14 and 15, 2014.
Police arrested the activists in three separate incidents after finding them in possession of posters calling for a “no” vote in the week preceding the referendum. Prosecutors charged the first group of three, arrested on January 7, under a section of the penal code that criminalizes “propogat[ing]… the call for changing the basic principles of the constitution…when the use of force or terrorism, or any other illegal method, is noted during the act.” A fourth party member detained on January 10 faces charges related to alleged involvement in terrorism. Three others, apprehended on January 12 for “distributing fliers, attempting to overthrow the regime, provoking citizens to reject the constitution, and engaging in incitement against the police and army,” will be brought in front of prosecutors on January 13 to face specific charges.

“Egyptian citizens should be free to vote for or against the new constitution, not fear arrest for simply campaigning for a ‘no’ vote,” said Joe Stork, Middle East and North Africa deputy director. “Protecting the right to vote requires safeguarding the right to free expression.”
The referendum comes in the midst of widening repression against political dissent in which arbitrary arrests solely for the exercise of peaceful expression and assembly have increased. While streets are awash with billboards and signs calling for a “yes” vote, “no” posters have been virtually absent from the public square.   
On January 7, police arrested three volunteers from the Strong Egypt party, a centrist party founded by Abd al-Moneim Abu al-Fotouh, who left the Muslim Brotherhood due to ideological differences in 2011. The three – 30-year-old accountant Ihab Abd al-Karim, the party’s secretary for public outreach in Giza; 21-year-old Islam al-Akabawy, a law student at Cairo University; and 22-year-old Ali Mohamed Ali, a law student at al-Azhar University – were arrested around 10 p.m., minutes after they had finished hanging several dozen “No to the Constitution” posters in the Garden City neighborhood of downtown Cairo, Abd al-Karim and a witness told Human Rights Watch.
Police approached the men from behind as they walked together on the Corniche al-Nil, a road along the Nile River, still holding a handful of posters, on their way to catch public minibuses home. After asking a few questions about the signs, the police arrested the men and transported them to the nearby Qasr al-Nil police station.
Police detained a fourth party activist, 35-year-old Mahmoud Emam, who runs a make-up and perfume store, in the early hours of January 10. He told Human Rights Watch that police pulled him off a minibus at a police checkpoint near the Ahmed Sa’ed Bridge in the Abbassiya district of eastern Cairo and discovered posters and fliers calling for a “no” vote inside a newspaper he was carrying. Emam had been on his way home after a night in which he had put up “no” signs in the Dokki neighborhood of western Cairo and had stopped at the Qasr al-Nil station to check on Abd al-Karim, al-Akabawy, and Ali.

The police arrested three other party members, Sami Ashraf, Mohamed Abu Leila, and Ahmed Badawi, as they finished hanging in Hadayek al-Qobba, a district in eastern Cairo, at around 7 p.m. on January 12, according to Abd al-Rahman Yusif, a Strong Egypt party lawyer who spoke to the men at the Hadayek al-Qobba police station where they were held later that night.

The posters read “No to the Constitution” and “2013 = 2012” in Arabic at the top, and include the name of the Strong Egypt party in both Arabic and English at the bottom. Different variations of the middle section contain one of five slogans in Arabic: “No to Military Trials for Civilians,” “No to the Army’s Loss of Prestige and Politicization,” “No to the Denial of Oversight Over the Corruption of Institutions,” “No to the Loss of the Rights of the Downtrodden to the Account of Businessmen,” and “No to the Continuation of the Interior Ministry’s Thuggery.”

Upon seeing this last sign, officers at the checkpoint who arrested Emam punched him repeatedly, exclaiming: “We will show you the thuggery of the Interior Ministry,” Emam told Human Rights Watch. Abd al-Karim and Emam both said that when police took their pictures at the respective stations they were being held at, they forced them to hold signs that read “Posters in Opposition to the Regime.”

Prosecutors interrogated Abd al-Karim, al-Akabawy, and Ali on January 8. According to Mohamed Atef and Yasmin al-Sheikh, lawyers present for the interrogations of each of the three men, prosecutors questioned the activists about where they got the posters, who funded the effort, and why they were putting them up. Having confiscated the men’s phones, they also asked about video footage of protests found on them. In none of the interrogations did prosecutors ask about or accuse the activists of using force or coercion of any kind.

Prosecutors charged the three men under article 98(b) of the penal code. The section prescribes penalties of not more than five years imprisonment and fines of no less than 50,000 Egyptian pounds (USD$7180) to:
Whoever propagates in the Republic of Egypt, by any means, the call for changing the basic principles of the constitution or the basic system of the social body, or condemning a social class with regards to other classes or eliminating social classes or to overthrow the basic state economic or social system, or destroying any core institution to the social body when the use of force or terrorism, or any other illegal method, is noted during the act.
Prosecutors initially questioned Emam on January 10 without a lawyer present, he told Human Rights Watch. Police focused on the posters calling for a “no” vote and on Emam’s political views, asking why he opposed the constitution and whether party head Abu al-Fotouh would run for president. On January 11, prosecutors again interrogated Emam, but this time in the presence of lawyers. Strong Egypt party lawyer Yusif, present for the interrogation, told Human Rights Watch that prosecutors decided to charge Emam under article 86 of the penal code, which proscribes penalties for involvement in acts of terrorism. The only evidence produced by the prosecutor were the posters and Emam’s involvement in the Strong Egypt party, Yusif said.

Prosecutors ordered al-Karim, al-Akabawy, Ali, and Emam released from custody pending charges. Al-Akabawy and Ali left the Qasr al-Nil police station in the early hours of January 10, while Abd al-Karim was released around 5 p.m. that day. The men told Human Rights Watch they spent their nights in custody in overcrowded detention cells in the basement of the police station, where they were crammed so tightly along with several dozen criminal detainees that they had no room to sit. Police released Emam from the al-Dhaher police station at around 10:30 p.m. on January 11, after two nights in tiny three-by-three meter underground cells with 20 criminal detainees, all of whom had been there over a month, Emam said.

Emam and Abd al-Karim told Human Rights Watch that before agreeing to release the four men, police turned them over to an officer with National Security for questioning. Abd al-Karim said that the officer from National Security told him he “should be thankful for your good luck. If the situation [in Egypt] had not calmed down, we would have renewed your detention for 15 days after 15 days and kept you in prison, where the conditions are like nothing you have seen. You have been spoiled.”

Hours before his release, police officers approached Emam in his detention cell and asked him to take off his undershirt and tear it up in front of the other detainees, Emam told Human Rights Watch. Then two police officers blindfolded him and whisked him out of the cell. Blindfolded and firmly held between the two officers, they forced him to run up two flights of stairs as they hit him repeatedly. At the top of the staircase, an unidentified officer interrogated Emam about his political views, asking him how he voted in previous elections, what parts of the constitution he opposed, and what he thought would happen in Egypt if the constitution did not pass.

At the time of writing, police had yet to release Ashraf, Abu Leila, and Badawi.

Police on January 11 arrested an eighth Strong Egypt party activist, 20 year-old engineering student Mohamed Baghat, in Khosous, a city in the Qaloybia Governorate north of Cairo, according to a Strong Egypt party member in the city who spoke with Baghat and requested anonymity. This person told Human Rights Watch that police detained and repeatedly struck Baghat after witnessing him spray-paint “No to the Constitution” on the wall of a public school, where a “Yes to the Constitution” conference was being held. Baghat was released without charge on January 12 after a night in a detention cell at the Khosous police station and interrogation by National Security officers.

Police held another party member, Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed Mohamed Abdullah, for several hours at the Khosous police station as he attempted to secure Baghat’s release, according to the party member who spoke with Abdullah and Human Rights Watch. While in detention, this person said, police violently beat Abdullah, including by hitting him in the head with the barrel of a rifle.

The arrests of the Strong Egypt activists fit an increasingly prevalent practice of police detaining political activists solely on the basis of peaceful expression, Human Rights Watch said. With specific regards to the campaign around the referendum, the ONA news agency reported on December 9, 2013, that police had arrested seven activists from al-Azhar University carrying banners calling for “No to the Constitution” and “No to the Protest Law.” According to the state-run al-Ahramnewspaper, police in Aswan in Upper Egypt arrested nine members of the Muslim Brotherhood on January 5, 2014, for distributing flyers calling for a boycott of the referendum.

In a January 10 news conference, Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim declared “every Friday no less than 500 to 600 get arrested… at the beginning, we used to wait for the demonstration to turn violent, but now we confront them once they congregate. When we confront them, there are some that run, but, whoever we can grab, we detain.” Over the past three Fridays police have arrested 703 protesters and killed 27, according to the Interior and Health Ministries. Ibrahim also warned that “any attempt to disrupt the referendum or to prevent citizens from voting will be confronted by a level of force and severity that has not been seen before.” 

As a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights, Egypt is required to protect freedom of expression. The United Nations Human Rights Committee, the body of experts that reviews states’ compliance with the ICCPR, has written that the freedom of expression is “essential” to the full enjoyment of the right to participate in public affairs and vote.

Article 65 of Egypt’s draft constitution states that “[a]ll individuals have the right to express their opinion through speech, writing, imagery, or any other means of expression and publication.”

“The assessment of whether a vote is free and fair has to involve a comprehensive evaluation of the political climate,” Stork said. “Prosecutors should immediately drop the charges against the Strong Egypt activists and ensure that citizens can peacefully protest during the referendum.”

Monday, January 6, 2014

Al Jazeera team still detained in Egypt

Three of Al Jazeera's journalists have been held in custody in Egypt since December 29, accused of spreading lies harmful to state security and joining a terrorist organisation, according to the prosecutor.
Producers Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, and correspondent Peter Greste were arrested along with cameraman Mohamed Fawzy, who was later released.
Al Jazeera denies the accusations against its team and has expressed outrage at the continued detention of its journalists without charge.
The broadcaster is becoming increasingly concerned about the safety of its staff members as their imprisonment continues.
Producers Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, and correspondent Peter Greste have faced questioning since they were detained, but have still not been officially charged.
No news on their release has been given by the authorities in Egypt.
Greste has twice appeared in front of the prosecutor in Cairo, but is still being detained.
A legal adviser said that Mohamed will be detained in Tora prison, outside Cairo, until he is brought before a prosecutor for questioning. This was due to happen on Saturday.

'False and unfounded'
Al Anstey, managing director of Al Jazeera English, said: "It is outrageous to be treating bone fide journalists in this way. The allegations that are being made are totally false and unfounded.
"We operate in Egypt legally. The team were working on a number of stories to show our viewers around the world all aspects of the ongoing situation in the country, and every member of our team has huge experience carrying out the highest quality journalism with integrity."
Greste is an award-winning journalist who joined Al Jazeera English after working with CNN and BBC. He won the Peabody Award in 2012 for his documentary on Somalia.
Fahmy worked for CNN and the New York Times before joining Al Jazeera.
Mohamed works as a Cairo-based producer for Al Jazeera English.
All three Al Jazeera journalists have upheld the highest standards throughout their careers.
Heather Allan, head of newsgathering at Al Jazeera English, said: "Peter and the team have been working on a number of stories in Egypt. We reported daily on political events including the recent protests in some universities.
"The team also covered the problems of traffic congestion in Cairo, and the cancellation of the Egyptian football league. We have been covering a variety of different stories from the country as we always do."
Two other Al Jazeera journalists, Abdulla al-Shami and Mohamed Badr, have been held without charge for more than five months. The network has been also demanding their immediate release.
Several organisations involved in global media freedom have joined the call for their immediate and unconditional release including: Committee for Protection of Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and International News Safety Institute.

Egypt regime accused of crimes against humanity over coup crackdown

Lawyers to file complaint at the International Criminal Court, accusing the Cairo regime of a 'systematic campaign of repression' against protesters

Supporters of Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi clash with riot police
Supporters of Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi clash with riot police Photo: Rex Features
Egypt regime killed at least 1,120 civilians and committed “crimes against humanity” while crushing protests against last year’s coup, according to lawyers seeking an investigation by the International Criminal Court.
Mohammed Morsi, the elected president of Egypt from the Muslim Brotherhood, was overthrown last July by Gen Abdulfattah al-Sisi, the defence minister, and replaced by a military regime.
In the days after the coup, Mr Morsi’s supporters gathered at protest camps across Cairo. The army and police responded by forcibly clearing them.
The operation claimed at least 1,120 lives in 15 separate incidents between July and Nov last year, according to evidence gathered by lawyers instructed by Mr Morsi’s overthrown government.
According to complaints handed to the lawyers, which are due to be lodged today (MON) with the ICC, one eyewitness saw a police bulldozer run over between 20 and 30 people. Another described how he was shot four times as the army opened fire on demonstrators with live rounds.2013
“The evidence suggests that Egypt’s military regime has carried out crimes against humanity on a horrendous scale, including murder, persecution, torture and enforced disappearances,” said Tayab Ali of ITN solicitors in London.
“Our inquiries have verified 1,120 killings since the coup in July last year, although the real number is likely to be substantially higher.” The bloodiest incident took place in Rabaa el Adaweya square in Cairo on Aug 14 when at least 638 people were killed.
“I heard live gunfire from the police lines,” said one eyewitness. “I heard someone screaming. I looked around and about 4m away from me I saw a man in his thirties who was lying down on the floor. He had been shot in the stomach.”
Later, the man said that he watched as police used bulldozers to destroy the barricades built by protesters, and then drive into the crowd. “I saw the bulldozer run over 20 or 30 people. I was shouting and screaming, telling the police to stop.”
A second witness at the same protest said that he was shot “in the head, chest, back and right arm”. He was rushed to a field hospital by demonstrators, where he said the facility was filled with “injured protesters with gunshots to the head” and “in some cases, their brains were spilling out”.
A third witness said that snipers were used to kill demonstrators and that shots were fired from military helicopters. Among the victims was the witness’s son. “My eldest son was shot in the chest. Although his friends took him to the field hospital on Taiaran street, he could not be saved.”
Mr Ali said the clearance of the protest camps amounted to a “systematic campaign of repression carried out by the Egyptian army and police, with the approval of the people at the very top of the regime”.
He added: “The Egyptian regime must be held accountable for its crimes.”
However, no Egyptian government joined the ICC while it was in office, so whether there are sufficient legal grounds for the ICC to become involved in an investigation is unclear.