News / Middle East

Amnesty Report Slams Egypt's 'Human Rights Abuses,' Violence

Demonstrators from various anti-military groups shout slogans during a protest against government military rules and against Egypt's Army Chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, at Talaat Harab Square in downtown Cairo, Jan. 22, 2014.
Demonstrators from various anti-military groups shout slogans during a protest against government military rules and against Egypt's Army Chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, at Talaat Harab Square in downtown Cairo, Jan. 22, 2014.
TEXT SIZE - +
Edward Yeranian
— Amnesty International has issued a report criticizing what it calls human rights abuses, wide-scale repression and limits to freedom of expression and of assembly in Egypt. Some analysts, however, question the neutrality of the report,

The report by Amnesty International on human rights violations in Egypt uses strong language to condemn what its authors portray as repression of civil rights, including freedom of expression and assembly.

Diana Eltahawy, a spokeswoman for Amnesty International, said Egypt's security forces have arrested many activists since the ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July.

“[Arrests have] been in the thousands and they include members and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, but they also include secular activists," said  Eltahawy. "Some of the cases that Amnesty International has documented are cases of women and children who have been thrown in jail, simply for holding placards with slogans against the military. We also know that an estimated 1,400 people have died in political violence, many as a result of lethal and excessive use of force by the army and the police since the third of July.”

Arab analyst and commentator Adel Darwish said the Amnesty report, which is titled “Roadmap to Repression: No End in Sight to Human Rights Violations,” fails to use unbiased language.

“If you want to present a case from a legal point of view,” he said, “the language must be neutral, which is not the case.” Darwish also disputed the validity of casualty and arrest figures cited by Amnesty.

Interim President Adly Mansour, who heads Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court, told security forces Thursday, in honor of National Police Day, that there now exists, since the January 2011 Revolution, a new relationship between police and the people:

He insisted that a “police state” will never come back and that the rule of law will prevail. He noted that the police have a role in promoting security, justice, freedom and the rights of the people, which includes stability in the country and fighting “blind terrorism.”

Militants have killed scores of police and army officers since the overthrow of Morsi and Islamic militants battle them for control of portions of the northern Sinai. Five policemen were killed by armed men wearing masks Thursday in the town of Beni Suef, south of Cairo.

Said Sadek, who teaches political sociology at the American University in Cairo said Amnesty International is looking at only one side of the picture in Egypt.

"They also do not understand the nature of the current historical moment," said Sadek. "Any country that goes through a transition is on the verge of a civil war. Remember Yugoslavia, look at Syria, look at what happened to Libya. So, it's not an easy situation. Now, the Egyptian government is fully mobilized to protect the state. It's borders are wide open. Infiltrators and smugglers come with arms and terrorists from Libya, from Gaza. You have bombs exploding here and there.”

Amnesty's Eltahawy argued that when “any protest at a university or otherwise turns violent, the security forces have to follow a number of rules and procedures,” which include “using force in a way that is proportionate, to achieve a legitimate objective.”

Sadek pointed out, though, that the U.S. passed the Patriot Act after 9/11 to protect national security. Egyptians, he said, “don't want their whole country to be destroyed like Syria, Iraq or Libya.”

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid