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Amnesty Reports: Egyptians Still Terrorized by Police, Security Forces

Posted by vmsalama on October 2, 2012

by Vivian Salama

Daily Beast (click here for original link)

October 2, 2012

Last November, deadly clashes between Egyptian security forces and enraged protesters cycloned through sections of Cairo in what, to many, appeared to be a revolution unraveling at the seams. Dozens of demonstrators—mainly Coptic Christians—had been killed the previous month in a battle with police outside Egypt’s state television headquarters, and the public had grown sick of unfulfilled promises for police reforms.

Tarek Moussa, 33, was seriously injured in the protests after live bullets pierced his stomach, liver, and diaphragm—including one that tore through someone else’s body before hitting his, since security forces fired at close range. “Many people were hit in the head in front of me,” he said in testimony to Amnesty International. “Why did they do this to me? I did not hurt my country. I will go back again to Tahrir [Square] to get my rights, but also the rights of others.”

In two new reports released Tuesday, Amnesty International called on Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi and the new government to fulfill one of the primary demands of the revolution by enacting a complete overhaul of the police and security forces, which continue to humiliate and terrorize the public through the use of excessive, unnecessary, and often deadly force. Since October 2011, 121 protesters have been killed, and almost 3,500 injured, Amnesty said.

“The different interior ministers that headed the police force since last year’s uprising have repeatedly announced their commitment to reforming the police and respecting human rights, but so far reforms have merely scratched the surface,” Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, said in a statement. “Instead, they have tried to restore emergency-like legislation in the name of restoring security.” The reports, the first entitled Brutality Unpunished and Unchecked: Egypt’s Military Kill and Torture Protesters With Impunity; the second, Agents of Repression: Egypt’s Police and the Case for Reform, highlight Egypt’s failure to evolve from Hosni Mubarak–era practices of abuse and assault as a means for law enforcement and intimidation. Police brutality has long been a major source of contention among Egyptians—one that inspired opposition members to organize online following the beating and torture of 28-year-old Khalid Said in 2010, after gruesome images of his disfigured corpse went viral, provoking young activists around the world. (click here to read more….)



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