Evidence gathered by Amnesty International published today indicates that the Egyptian authorities are attempting to cover up the deaths of more than two dozen people who were killed in protests marking the 2011 uprising last weekend.
Prosecutors have threatened eyewitnesses with arrest and at least 500 demonstrators, including two disabled people and children, and bystanders are being held in unofficial detention centres across the country. Two journalists were also detained while covering the protests.
“The authorities have not only used unnecessary or excessive force but they also appear to have orchestrated a ‘cover up’ of the disastrous events of last weekend to hide the brutal reality that Egyptian security forces have once again resorted to arbitrary and abusive force to crush protesters,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director.
“The latest bombings in the Sinai are a stark reminder that Egypt is facing a security threat. However while the Egyptian authorities must ensure the safety of Egyptians, they cannot do so by trampling on human right and ignoring their obligations under international law. Everyone has the right to peacefully protest or express their views without fear of state violence or arbitrary arrest”.
“Threatening eyewitnesses and locking up anyone present at the protest in a bid to silence them is no way to conduct an impartial investigation. It smacks of a deliberate attempt at a whitewash.”
At least 27 people were killed in protests between 23-26 January. Some protesters resorted to violence and two members of the security forces were also killed.
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