Egypt: Rights group demands probe of 2013 ‘Rabaa massacre’

Human Rights Watch wants international inquiry into killing of Mohamed Morsi supporters during sit-in protest in Cairo.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi chant slogans at Rabaa Adawiya Square east of Cairo August 11, 2013
Hundreds of protesters, including leaders of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, have been convicted at mass trials [Reuters]

A human rights group called for an international inquiry into a deadly crackdown on supporters of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood during a 2013 protest in Egypt.

Human Rights Watch said on Monday that Egyptian authorities have failed to investigate or prosecute a single member of the security forces responsible for the assault on Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya Square.

The rights group said the attack on the sit-in demonstration killed more than 800 protesters in a matter of hours in “the largest mass killing in Egypt’s modern history”.

“Five years on from the Rabaa massacre, the only response from authorities has been to try to insulate those responsible for these crimes from justice,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s director for Middle East and North Africa.

“The response from Egypt’s allies to the crimes at Rabaa and to the lack of justice for the victims has been complete silence.”

The bloody dispersal came weeks after Mohamed Morsiwas overthrown following mass protests against his one-year rule. Egypt’s government said many demonstrators were armed and 43 police officers were killed.

No justice a year after Rabaa massacre

Since then hundreds of protesters, including leaders of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, have been convicted at mass trials. An Egyptian court in July sentenced 75 people to death for participating in the protest.

Presidential immunity

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi last month approved a law giving senior military officers immunity from prosecution tied to the unrest that followed Morsi’s overthrower.

“Without justice, Rabaa remains an open wound. Those responsible for the mass killings of protesters shouldn’t count on being able to shield themselves from accountability forever,” Whitson warned.

Among those still awaiting a verdict are prominent photojournalist Mahmud Abu Zeid, widely known as Shawkan, who in May received UNESCO’s Press Freedom Prize.

The Muslim Brotherhood was banned following Morsi’s overthrow in July 2013 in a coup led by Sisi, who became the country’s president a year later. Sisi was re-elected in March this year.

Source: AP