Egypt: Military leaders have 'crushed' hopes of revolution- New report
Posted: 22 November 2011
Egypt's military rulers have completely failed to live up to their promises to Egyptians to improve human rights and have instead been responsible for a catalogue of abuses which in some cases exceeds the record of Hosni Mubarak, Amnesty International said today (22 November) as it published a major new report on the Egyptian army’s record.
In its 62-page report, Broken Promises: Egypt's military rulers erode human rights, (pdf) Amnesty documents a woeful performance on human rights by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) which assumed power after the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak in February.
The report follows a bloody few days in Egypt that has left many dead and hundreds injured after the army and security forces violently attempted to disperse anti-SCAF protesters from Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Acting Director Philip Luther said:
"By using military courts to try thousands of civilians, cracking down on peaceful protest and expanding the remit of Mubarak's Emergency Law, the SCAF has continued the tradition of repressive rule which the January 25 demonstrators fought so hard to get rid of.
"Those who have challenged or criticised the military council - like demonstrators. journalists, bloggers, striking workers - have been ruthlessly suppressed, in an attempt at silencing their voices.
"The human rights balance sheet for SCAF shows that after nine months in charge of Egypt, the aims and aspirations of the January 25 revolution have been crushed. The brutal and heavy-handed response to protests in the last few days bears all the hallmarks of the Mubarak era
“The Egyptian military cannot keep using security as an excuse to keep to the same old practices that we saw under President Mubarak.
“If there is to be an effective transition to the new Egypt that protesters have been demanding, the SCAF must release their grip on freedom of expression, association and assembly, lift the state of emergency and stop trying civilians in military courts.”
The SCAF promised in early statements to “carry out their leading role in protecting protesters regardless of their views”, but the security forces, including the army, have violently suppressed several protests, resulting in deaths and injuries. Amnesty’s report shows that the military council has met few of the commitments it has made in its public statements and has worsened the situation in some areas.
In a notable example, the military council announced on 28 March it would investigate the use of forced “virginity tests” by the army to intimidate 17 female protesters on 9 March, but no information about this investigation has been made public. Instead, the only woman who filed a complaint against the SCAF is said to have been subjected to harassment and intimidation.
Amnesty also said that forced evictions of Egypt’s slum residents had been carried out by military forces after they assumed law enforcement duties in early 2011, and called for an end to the practice of forced evictions.
The organisation called on the Egyptian authorities - including the SCAF - to restore confidence in public institutions by properly and transparently investigating human rights violations and lifting the Emergency Law.
When Amnesty's Secretary General Salil Shetty met SCAF representatives in June, he had urged them to scrap the 1981 Emergency Law which unfairly restricted a number of fundamental rights. But in September the Emergency Law was expanded to cover offences such as disturbing traffic, blocking roads, broadcasting rumours, possessing and trading in weapons, and “assault on freedom to work”. Those arrested under the emergency law are tried before special courts known as (Emergency) Supreme State Security Courts