Amnesty report: Egypt military rulers abused protesters, violated human rights

[JURIST] The ruling military council in Egypt has committed numerous human rights violations, including abuse of protesters and journalists who voice their dissatisfaction with the government, according to an Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] report [text, PDF; press release] released Tuesday. The report alleges that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) [NYT backgrounder] has used violence and torture to put down government protests and discourage political dissent. The report criticizes SCAF for its conduct despite its repeated promises to protect free expression and encourage political openness. AI expressed concern that the human rights violations may be equal to those committed under former president Hosni Mubarak [JURIST news archive]:

In the name of ensuring security and stability, the authorities have committed numerous human rights violations, ignoring the very demands for social justice and fundamental freedoms that triggered the uprising. Indeed, 10 months later, the SCAF has been moving further and further from meeting the human rights demands voiced by millions of Egyptians during the "25 January Revolution" and the promises that ensued from it. Since February, the SCAF have issued a number of laws that have been detrimental to the protection of human rights. Some were meant to appease sentiments of insecurity ... others appear aimed at discouraging criticism of the authorities and protest. The recent endorsement in full of the Emergency Law and its expansion ... has been considered the greatest erosion of rights since the January uprising.
AI has called for SCAF to end impunity for military officials who abuse Egyptians and to allow an independent agency to investigate alleged human rights violations. Also Tuesday, the Egyptian military announced its intention to turn over governing power by July 1, 2012 [AP report].

On Monday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] and a group of independent human rights experts issued a joint statement [JURIST report] "express[ing] alarm at the degree of violence and deterioration of the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association which have led to loss of life in Egypt." Last Friday, as many as 50,000 protesters took to Tahrir Square in Egypt [JURIST report], decrying the military's continued rule over the nation since this year's revolution, and on Saturday were reportedly met with a violent reprisal from police forces. The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) [party website] organized the protests earlier this week [press release] in an attempt to force the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to "intervene and withdraw the supra-constitutional principles proposed by Deputy Prime Minister Ali Elselmy." The MB believes the proposed law [text] would integrate the military into the political system in violation of the constitution [text]. Since the protests began, reportedly more than 500 people have been injured and 18 arrested [Al Ahram report]. Struggles began when riot police attempted to dismantle a tent camp [Al Jazeera report] memorializing activists killed in the revolution. Latest reports reveal that protesters were attempting to storm the Ministry of the Interior [official website] and were deterred by police firing rubber bullets. Many fear the recent protests will impede upcoming elections. The November 28 election is considered the first free election following the overthrow [JURIST report] of Mubarak in February.

 

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