[JURIST] Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] said Sunday it has gathered evidence that the Egyptian government is covering up [press release] the deaths of more than two dozen people who died in protests on the anniversary of the 2011 uprisings. Twenty-seven people died in protests last week, including two women, a 10-year-old child and two members of the security forces. AI found that security forces fired shotguns and tear gas against nonviolent crowds and failed to stop clashes among protesters for several hours. According to the rights group, they have reviewed testimonies from witnesses, photographs and video footage, but the government has threatened and detained witnesses present at the demonstrations to keep them from testifying against security forces. Prosecutors are also reportedly refusing to reveal where the detained protesters are being held and have not permitted human rights lawyers to file complaints. AI is urging that:
Member states must act to hold the Egyptian authorities to account for widespread human rights violations. The Egyptian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release all those who are detained solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression or assembly.They must conduct prompt, independent and impartial investigations into the political violence in which protesters, bystanders and residents were killed and injured in order to establish individuals who are responsible and ensure their prosecution in fair trials, without recourse to the death penalty.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein spoke out [JURIST report] on Tuesday against the excessive force used by security personnel to control the protests. Zeid encouraged the Egyptian government to take accountability for past injustices and a non-violent approach to addressing political protesters. In the last month Egypt has also received criticism from rights groups for its protest laws and failure to protect women. Egypt’s Court of Cassation [official website, in Arabic] upheld convictions and three-year prison sentences of three activists last week for violating [JURIST report] the country’s protest laws. AI also reported earlier this month that the Egyptian government is failing to protect [JURIST report] women’s rights and end violence against women.