• January 7, 2016
  • 10 minutes read

Human Rights Organization’s Damning Report on Violations, Atrocities in Egypt During 2015

Human Rights Organization’s Damning Report on Violations, Atrocities in Egypt During 2015

 The following is the UK-based Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR)’s annual report – for 2015 – on human rights violations in Egypt:

During 2015, Egyptian authorities continued their bloody approach non-stop, with some methods of repression developing and expanding to include a wider range of sectors of Egyptian society with no discrimination between minors and adults, men and women.

The reporting period – the year 2015 – witnessed the killing of 267 people outside the framework of the law at the hands of Egyptian security forces in various governorates across Egypt, excluding those killed in North and South Sinai governorates.

Egyptian security forces killed 62 people using lethal force against peaceful assemblies including 6 minors and 3 women.

They also killed 46 people in extrajudicial executions. Meanwhile, 159 people died inside detention centers due to deliberate medical neglect, torture or poor conditions of detention as well as corruption in the prison administration.

Moreover, 38 people were killed in suspicious circumstances, with coup security forces claiming they were killed as they carried out terrorist acts. There was no sufficient evidence available regarding those people’s deaths, and authorities refused to take any serious, impartial steps to investigate the incidents as required by law.

During the same period, the number of people who were arrested from the opposition amounted to 17840 citizens, including 11877 the Interior Ministry claimed they belonged to 171 terrorist cells in a press statement by a senior official.

Among those detained were at least 235 minors and 73 women and girls.

Instead of reviewing the accelerated detention policy in Egypt, which led to unprecedented overcrowding problems in Egyptian prisons, Egyptian authorities opened three new prisons during the year 2015: Giza Central Prison, May 15 Central Prison and Tora High-Security Prison. The Egyptian government has also approved decisions to establish three more prisons in different provinces of the country: Nahda Prison in Giza, Assiut Central Prison and the Central Prison of Damietta.

Judicial authorities had their share of human rights violations in Egypt, during the year 2015, with Egyptian judiciary issuing 660 verdicts against opposition leaders and supporters in civilian and military courts. Cases tried before military courts were 80, while 580 others were tried before civil courts. All those trials were marked by total disregard of due process and defendants’ right to fair trials.

Judicial rulings were issued against 8213 people, of whom 1796 were acquitted. Convictions and verdicts varied in terms of type of punishment dealt out as follows:

1978 people were sentenced to life imprisonment. 1284 people were sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for more than five years. 1394 people were given prison terms for three to five years. 1147 were sentenced to imprisonment terms of up to three years. 208 people were ordered to pay fines ranging from 5000 Egyptian Pounds to 200,000 Egyptian Pounds (US$26,000), while 11 people were given other sentences.

During the monitoring period – the year 2015, 395 people were sentenced to death (first instance), 12 of these were sentenced in military courts, and 7 were actually executed. First executed was Mahmoud Ramadan Abdel-Nabi, in civilian criminal case, on March 7, 2015. The other 6 were executed in the so-called Arab Sharkas military case, on May 18, 2015.

Monitoring of the effects of the Egyptian military’s security operations in the Sinai during 2015 revealed that 1600 people were killed. The army claimed most of them were killed in "security clashes" or as a result of random gunfire and shelling.

In 2015, at least 2424 people were arrested, including 421 the military claimed were "wanted for security reasons", and 2003 people were arrested for certain "suspicions". The army did not disclose the fate of most of these. Some 744 primitive houses were burned, while 400 cars and wagons and 1004 motorbikes were burned and damaged. Also, 23 farms and 16 acres of land were razed by army bulldozers.

Furthermore, the Egyptian government issued orders to evacuate the Egyptian borders with the Gaza Strip, with the forced displacement of the population of that area from their homes, which are being destroyed in preparation for the establishment of a buffer zone on the border with Gaza. The first phase of implementing these orders began in October 2014, razing a strip with a width of 500 meters along the border line, and demolishing 837 houses owned by 1150 Egyptian families. The second phase started in March 2015, completely razing another 500 meters, and demolishing about 1044 houses of the total allocated for the second phase.

Egyptian authorities did not open any investigation into the indiscriminate killings carried out by the army in the Sinai. No-one from the security forces responsible was punished for the many deaths, not even with administrative penalties. Egyptian authorities did not announce any investigations or evidence of the involvement of those persons killed by security forces in terrorist acts. Meanwhile, the military forces continued to use warplanes, heavy artillery, and the most deadly weapons in the bombing of civilian homes, killing even more innocent people every day.

During 2015, the Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR) in Britain send reports and complaints to many official bodies and authorities in Egypt regarding more than 393 people who suffered various violations. The Egyptian authorities’ response to these reports and complaints was very weak. Although some of these violations against the complainants were stopped, not a single investigation was started into any those cases, and no action was taken or attempt made to hold accountable the perpetrators of those violations.

To continue monitoring of human rights violations in Egypt is difficult, in light of the scarcity of information and the state of fear experienced by victims or their relatives, in addition to the keenness of the Egyptian regime to show a false and distorted picture of the reality of what is happening in Egypt, supported by a military-controlled media machine. Indeed, it is now a crime for any human rights or media report or activity to contradict the regime’s account of what is happening, according to the newly-amended Egyptian law.

However, there is no alternative to serious work to expose and highlight the truth, according to non-biased professional standards, to help underline the facts for public opinion inside and outside Egypt, and to put the international community before its ethical and legal responsibilities. Serious work is also essential in order to put an end to the policy of impunity, especially as security forces continue to commit more of these violations and prevent the victims from getting legal redress.

Source: Arab Organization for Human Rights in Britain