Saturday,22 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1159, (1 - 7 August 2013)
Saturday,22 September, 2018
Issue 1159, (1 - 7 August 2013)

Ahram Weekly

Counting the dead

Supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi have allegedly killed and tortured dozens of their opponents, reports Reem Leila

Al-Ahram Weekly

On Monday security sources announced they had found 11 bodies, six at Al-Nahda Square and five at Rabaa Al-Adaweya Square, all bearing marks of torture. Security forces also issued press statements saying 10 people had reported being tortured by Muslim Brotherhood supporters at Rabaa Al-Adaweya district and Al-Nahda Square.

The squares are focal points for demonstrators demanding Mohamed Morsi be reinstated as president. Both sites have witnessed deadly clashes between pro- and anti-Morsi protesters.

Three corpses discovered at Omraniya in Giza earlier this month also appeared to show signs of torture. Security sources claimed this week that a suspect, affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood, had admitted that he, along with other protesters at Al-Nahda Square, had captured the three men and tortured them to death.

On 26 July members of the Muslim Brotherhood stormed Al-Qaed Ibrahim Mosque in Alexandria and used it to detain and torture anti-Morsi demonstrators. Immediately after the toppling of Morsi the ex-president’s supporters killed and tortured at least 16 people in the district of Bein Al-Sarayat. Their corpses were thrown in a nearby park and side streets.

As tensions between pro- and anti-Morsi demonstrators escalate, stories of random brutality are growing. In the Al-Qaed Ibrahim case, mosque officials corroborated the accounts given by those detained — they claimed they were taken from a nearby area and tortured for hours by hardline militia members — and filed their own police report. Accordingly, the Armed Forces along with police freed the detainees.

“They took me to one of the mosques in the area and I discovered it was being used to imprison demonstrators and torture them. I was beaten with sticks, whipped, burned and given electric shocks until eventually the police arrived and freed us,” said 32-year-old schoolteacher Youssef Mustafa.

Officials at Al-Qaed Ibrahim Mosque say radical militias stormed the building while protesters were chanting slogans against Morsi. “We deeply regret what happened and apologise to the people of the area,” mosque officials said in a statement. “We lost control over the mosque at the time.”

The statement condemned the violence and denounced involving mosques in political conflict.

“It will only get worse,” says Hafez Abu Seada, head of the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights. “The conflict could be a long one. The Muslim Brotherhood is fighting to survive. They wanted to control the reins of power and now they are being pushed from the political scene. The bloodbath has started.”

The violent militias that allegedly tortured Mustafa work hand-in-hand with foreign powers such as Hamas, says Abu Seada, and may be beyond the control of Morsi.

“Egyptian society is split and not just along pro- and anti-Morsi lines. Less conservative elements of society are increasingly uneasy with the Muslim Brotherhood. Anti-Morsi protesters are not alone in their mistrust of the Brotherhood.”

Meanwhile, the interim leadership is pushing ahead with a fast-track transition plan to return to a democratically elected government by early next year and Egypt’s interior minister has pledged to deal decisively with any attempts to destabilise the country, a thinly veiled warning to Morsi’s supporters whose occupation of a square and a part of a residential area in Cairo has led to a month long stand-off with security forces.

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