Wednesday, October 03, 2012
Amnesty presses Egypt to punish abuses after Mubarak ouster
By Shaimaa Fayed
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's new president must punish security forces responsible for unlawful brutality and killing of protesters during the 16 months of army rule that followed Hosni Mubarak's ouster in 2011, Amnesty International said on Tuesday.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) handed power to the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Mursi in June after a period of rule in which at least 12,000 civilians were tried by army courts, over 100 protesters killed in clashes with army and police and thousands injured, according to rights groups.
The issue of holding the army to account touches a sensitive nerve since the generals who ruled Egypt wanted to ensure immunity from prosecution before ceding power, diplomats say.
All the presidents in charge of Egypt for 60 years, until Mursi was elected, came from military ranks.
Amnesty International released two reports, one titled "Brutality Unpunished and Unchecked" and urging Egyptian authorities to end the army's impunity, and another "Agents of Repression", calling for deep reform of the police force.
"The authorities should be under no illusion that they can sweep under the carpet 16 months of abuse," Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme, told a news conference in Cairo.
"(The abuses) translated into more than 120 dead, thousands of people being tried by military courts, hundreds tortured. The reality is that SCAF leaves a legacy of human rights abuses which cannot go unanswered and unpunished," she said.
Sahraoui said Amnesty had sent a detailed memorandum to Mursi at the end of June and the beginning of July urging him, among other things, to put reform of the police and security institutions at the heart of the government's agenda.
She said that Amnesty had not received a reply but still wanted to work with the authorities on the issue of reform and wanted the government to invite to Egypt the United Nations' Special Rapporteur on Torture, who was kept away by Mubarak.