U.S.-based Human Rights Watch has launched an investigation into alleged rights violations in Egypt during the recent upheaval and called on the military-installed government to end its crackdown on Islamist groups and the news media.
Egyptian policemen march with a vehicle carrying the body of their comrade, killed Monday in Cairo outside Republican Guard headquarters in an incident that left 51 people dead, at his funeral in Alexandria, July 9, 2013.
Egyptian prosecutors Wednesday ordered the arrest of Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Mohamed Badie, accused of inciting deadly violence that led to clashes between soldiers and supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.
Since Morsi was removed from power last week, authorities have ordered the arrests of 650 members of the Muslim Brotherhood and of other leading figures, including those of the ultraconservative Gamaa Islamiyya.
Officials have sealed off Brotherhood buildings and closed down its television station and other media outlets sympathetic to the organization. Human Rights Watch said the Egyptian military has also arrested the deposed president himself and at least ten members of his team, keeping them in incommunicado detention, unable to speak with their families or lawyers.
Human Rights Watch representative Joe Stork said Egyptian police must exercise restraint.
"On the side of the security forces, they should not be using excessive force," he said. "They should not be using lethal force, except to the extent absolutely necessary to protect lives.”
His comments came after Egyptian authorities warned against attempts to undermine the country’s political transition. Morsi's supporters have been protesting his ouster and have rejected plans for elections, but Stork said Human Rights Watch is urging them not to use violence.