Egypt: call for security forces to show restraint with mass demos expected

On-the-ground Amnesty experts available for interview from Cairo

With nationwide demonstrations expected in Egypt this weekend to mark the one-year point since President Mohamed Morsi took office, Amnesty International is calling for the Egyptian authorities to uphold the right to peaceful assembly and protect protesters and bystanders from violence.

Opponents of President Morsi are expected to take to the streets en masse in cities across Egypt to mark his first year in office on Sunday, with his supporters holding counter-rallies.

Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said:

“Given the appalling track record in policing demonstrations, it is absolutely imperative that the Egyptian authorities issue very clear instructions to security forces to uphold protesters’ right to freedom of assembly and refrain from unnecessary or excessive force.

“They should make clear that anyone responsible for arbitrary and abusive force will be brought to justice.”

Amnesty experts Diana Eltahawy and Mohamed Emissary are available for interview from Cairo, and are able to discuss the human rights failures and challenges of President Morsi’s government. The team will also be monitoring any response from police and security forces to the demonstrations.

To arrange an interview with either of these, please contact them direct:

Diana Eltahawy: 07778 472100 (UK mobile), 00 20 1060 901 438 (Egypt mobile)

Mohamed Elmessiry: 07961 421568 (UK mobile), 00 20 1000 000 7872 (Egypt mobile)

Summary of human rights concerns across the past twelve months in Egypt:

*No reform of the security apparatus has been initiated. Instead, the authorities have employed tactics reminiscent of the Mubarak era, with the security forces using excessive force against protesters.

*There have been further restrictions on freedom of expression - including a worrying rise in criminal blasphemy cases.

*Discrimination and violence against women remains un-tackled. Women remain marginalised in the new political institutions.

*No legal or policy reforms to eradicate torture have been initiated.

*There have been unprecedented levels of sectarian violence against Shia Muslims, and continuing sectarian violence and discrimination against the Coptic Christian community.

*No ban on military trials for civilians, which are inherently unfair.

*The new Constitution does not explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender and race, potentially affecting women and minorities.
 

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