Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

11 February 2011

Wounded Egyptian protesters tell of security forces' violence

Wounded Egyptian protesters tell of security forces' violence

Two Egyptian protesters who were seriously wounded on the opening day of anti-government demonstrations in Cairo have told Amnesty International they believed the security forces' intention was to crush the protests from their onset.

Mahmoud Mohamed Amin and Wael Mohamed Mahmud Ali each lost the sight in one eye after being shot by security forces on 25 January.

"These personal accounts from protesters show that Egyptian security officers used excessive force right from the start of the demonstrations in Cairo," said Claudio Cordone, Senior Director at Amnesty International.

"Force was not used to protect lives, but to deter protesters and prevent them from expressing their demands. The authorities' intention on 25 January was to nip the protest movement in the bud."

The type of eye injuries suffered by the two men interviewed by Amnesty International, which were caused by shrapnel from shotguns, were among the most common reported by Cairo's hospitals. One hospital said it admitted 58 such cases in 24 hours. 

Mahmoud Mohamed Amin, a 30-year-old-accountant from Aswan, said the protest was peaceful until security forces began to intervene in the afternoon of 25 January. They beat protesters with batons and used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd.

He says he was hit by a “rash” (described as a weapon that emits several round bullets that shatter in all directions - most likely a shotgun). About 15 pieces of shrapnel were lodged in his upper body, including three pieces in his eye and some in his nostril.

He has lost the sight in the right eye. Doctors told him there is a chance he can regain his sight but he would need treatment outside Egypt.

Unemployed Wael Mohamed Mahmud Ali, 34, was frustrated at not being able to find work and he joined the protest with a banner saying “No to Mubarak the tyrant”.

He says security forces attacked the protesters without warning just after midnight, using shotguns and armoured vehicles that fired tear gas.

Wael Mohamed Mahmud Ali was standing by Al-Qasr Al Eni street, south of Tahrir square, when he felt something hit his face and chest and realised he was bleeding.

At the hospital, police agents monitored his movements and accompanied him to toilet or to pray.  He lost sight in left eye and does not know if it can be restored. He also has shrapnel in his nose and ear, along with broken front teeth.

Both wounded men were visited by the Minister of Health, who assured them they would be visited by medical specialists, but that has not yet happened.

"The security forces did not respect international standards on the use of force and firearms, and instead fired on those who were peacefully calling for change," said Claudio Cordone at Amnesty International.

"The Egyptian authorities must launch a proper investigation into the conduct of its security personnel, and bring those responsible for committing human rights violations to justice."

Read More

Demanding Change In The Middle East And North Africa (News and multimedia microsite)

Issue

Activists 
Freedom Of Expression 
MENA unrest 
Torture And Ill-treatment 

Country

Egypt 

Region

Middle East And North Africa 

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