Investigations of human rights officials attacked during demonstrations
Security forces assaulted campaigners peacefully protesting to the brutal beating to death by police of Khaled Saed from Alexandria on June 6.
Alexandria witnessed mass demonstrations which took place on June 25 where over1, 000 protesters, led by Dr. Mohamed El Baradei and members of the Muslim Brotherhood bloc in addition to other political activists objected to police brutality.
In another instance security officers arrested approximately 55 protesters scheduled to rally and held them in custody for several hours before releasing them. The demonstration was to have taken place at 5 p.m. in downtown Cairo ‘s Tahrir Square ; however the security’s presence made any gathering difficult. Protesters were planning to demonstrate against the Interior ministry calling it responsible for Saed’s death.
Human Rights Watch official witnessed security officials attacking, dispersing, and detaining protesters, and bystanders. Even journalists were attacked as they documented the protest and at least 2 cameras were seized. Human Rights Watch staff witnessed a security officer beat Philip Risk, an activist, when they saw him filming them arresting and beating other protesters. Riot police and plain clothes security continued to harass both male and female protesters, calling on them to move back. Even after the security officers had cordoned off all the protesters into a side street, security forces continued to hit them. Security officers arrested at least 55 protesters and took them away in vans. The officers targeted those leading the chants but also rounded up protesters randomly. Sayed Torky, an advisor working with Human Rights Watch, along with Emad Mubarak, from the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, who were both there to monitor the protest. Security officials released the 55 detained protesters on highways outside of Cairo after driving around for hours
According to Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch security violated article 9 of the International Rights Watch on Civil and Political Rights and article 11 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, to which Egypt ratified , by arresting peaceful demonstrators attempting to exercise their right to freedom of assembly.
He added, “Demonstrations have a democratic function, and states have a duty to protect the right to assembly, and they need to learn that there are ways of maintaining public order without beating and arbitrarily arresting peaceful protesters”.