Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Egypt: Don’t Cover Up Military Killing of Copt Protesters

Official Denials Suggest Investigation Will be Flawed

Human Rights Watch

October 25, 2011

"(New York) – The Egyptian military’s intention to control the investigation of the use of force against unarmed Coptic Christian demonstrators during a night of clashes on October 9, 2011, raises fears of a cover-up, Human Rights Watch said today. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Egypt’s military rulers, should transfer the investigation from the military prosecution to a fully independent and impartial investigation into the killing of unarmed protesters by military forces. The violence left two dozen protesters and bystanders and at least one military officer dead.

Human Rights Watch interviewed 20 participants in the demonstration who consistently testified that between 6 and 7 p.m. on October 9 at least two armored personnel vehicles (APCs) drove recklessly through crowds of demonstrators, in some cases appearing to pursue them intentionally. The protest of thousands of Copts had been peaceful until that point, and the military’s subsequent response was disproportionate. The large, heavy vehicles crushed and killed at least 10 demonstrators, as autopsies later showed.

The military cannot investigate itself with any credibility,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “This had been an essentially peaceful protest until the military used excessive force and military vehicles ran over protesters. The only hope for justice for the victims is an independent civilian-led investigation that the army fully cooperates with and cannot control and that leads to the prosecution of those responsible.”......"

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