Saturday,22 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1209, (14 - 20 August 2014)
Saturday,22 September, 2018
Issue 1209, (14 - 20 August 2014)

Ahram Weekly


Al-Ahram Weekly

Entry denied

EGYPTIAN authorities refused to allow Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth and Middle East and North Africa Director Sarah Leah Whitson to enter Egypt on Sunday. Roth and Whitson said they were to brief diplomats and journalists in Cairo on a 188-page Human Rights Watch report on events involving the killing of protesters in July and August 2013.

The report is titled “All According to Plan: The Rabaa Massacre and Mass Killings of Protesters in Egypt.” It claims that Egyptian police and army opened fire with live ammunition on crowds of demonstrators opposed to the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi on 3 July, and at six demonstrations in July and August 2013, killing at least 1,150 people.

Human Rights Watch conducted a year-long investigation into the killings, interviewing more than 200 witnesses, visiting each of the protest sites, and reviewing video footage, physical evidence, and statements by public officials.

“We had already shared our report on last year’s mass unlawful killings in Cairo with senior Egyptian officials and were hoping to have meetings with them to discuss our findings and recommendations,” Roth said. “However, it appears the Egyptian government has no appetite to face up to the reality of these abuses, let alone hold those responsible to account.”

Human Rights Watch closed its office in Cairo in February because of “concerns about the deteriorating security and political environment in the country.”

Two militants arrested

SECURITY forces arrested two members of Al-Furqan Brigades, the Sinai-based militant group that claimed responsibility for several small-scale terrorist attacks last year, state news agency MENA said on Tuesday. The two men, aged 23 and 24, were arrested on Monday during raids on their homes in the North Sinai town of Al-Arish.

MENA said the men were allegedly involved in terrorist operations, including the killing of police and soldiers, in a campaign spearheaded by the country’s most active militant group, Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis.

Late last year, Al-Furqan Brigades claimed responsibility for an RPG attack on a satellite communications center in a southern Cairo suburb and called for attacks against the army, describing them as infidels. It also claimed responsibility for attacking a ship in the Suez Canal in September.

Egypt has been plagued by recurrent terrorist attacks since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last summer. The military is waging an extensive operation in the Sinai Peninsula to quell the insurgency and destroy the network of crossborder smuggling tunnels connecting Sinai with Gaza. Troops have destroyed five more passages, bringing to 1,664 the total number of tunnels the army has laid waste to, a military spokesman said Monday.

A judge steps down

THE HEAD of a Cairo Criminal Court panel declined to preside over the trial of 494 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi on Tuesday, citing “unease.” The 494 are accused of involvement in clashes between pro-Morsi protesters and security forces last August at the Al-Fateh Mosque in Cairo’s Ramsis district. The judge, Mahmoud Kamel El-Rashidi, is currently presiding over the trial of former president Hosni Mubarak.

The Ramsis clashes left 210 dead, most of them Morsi supporters. The accused face charges of committing violence, assaulting security forces and torching buildings.

Thousands of Morsi loyalists have been arrested on similar charges since last August when the two main sit-ins supporting the Islamist president were dispersed. Clashes that followed the removal of Morsi last July left hundreds of supporters of the ousted president dead. Meanwhile, Islamic militants have stepped up attacks against security forces, leaving over 500 military and police personnel killed over the past year.

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