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EOHR calls on Supreme Council of Armed Forces to investigate crackdown on protesters

UPDATE: Step toward accountability for military abuses (HRW, 25 October 2012)

(EOHR/IFEX) - 10 April 2011 - The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) expresses its deep concern regarding the excessive use of force by the military police against protesters in Tahrir Square on 9 April 2011. This resulted in the death of protesters and injuries to 71 others. EOHR calls for an immediate investigation into the incident and for sanctions against the perpetrators to ensure that such actions do not reoccur. EOHR is also calling for the immediate release of the 41 detainees who were arrested during the protests.

Tens of thousands of Egyptians started arriving at Tahrir Square on the morning of 8 April to participate in what has been called the "Friday of Trial and Purification". A number of different political forces invited supporters to this event for a symbolic trial of former president Hosni Mubarak and many of the leaders of his regime. The demonstration called for the restoration of funds which were smuggled abroad and the dissolution of the National Democratic Party (NDP) and local councils. It also called for the prosecution of those involved in the killing of demonstrators during the events of the 25 January (VS April) revolution, and the establishment of a time schedule for the ousting of governors and the meeting of the demands of the revolution.

Early at dawn on 9 April, military police officers used force to disperse the protesters in Tahrir Square. They chased them in the side streets near the square and used electric batons and clubs. Around 41 people were arrested and charged with "violating the military ruler's order of not gathering". The following day, 10 April, 11 of those detainees were released.

Mr. Hafez Abu Saeda, the Chairman of EOHR, condemned the use of force to disperse peaceful protests in contradiction of the constitution and international human rights conventions. He called for the prosecution of whoever issued the order to shoot live bullets against the protesters to disperse the demonstration and also demanded the prosecution of members of the former regime.

Abu Saeda expressed his disapproval of the participation of members of the armed forces or security forces who were not on duty, but wore their uniforms to participate in peaceful demonstrations and protests. He also stressed the need to use a negotiation mechanism to disperse any peaceful gathering. In that regard, EOHR calls on the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) to immediately investigate the attacks on the demonstrators and immediately punish the perpetrators. The results of the inquiry should be announced to the public. This is to protect the good relationship between the army and the Egyptian people on the one hand and the army and protesters on the other hand and also to protect the gains of the 25 January revolution.

EOHR also calls for the immediate release of those who were detained for exercising their legitimate right to peacefully protest and for the immediate prosecution of the former regime and its corrupt supporters, who are involved in cases of illegitimate profiteering.
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