Egypt Is Led By A Mass Murderer

by Dish Staff

That’s the conclusion of a Human Rights Watch investigation into the killings of at least 817 and probably over 1,000 Egyptians during the dispersal of pro-Morsi demonstrators from Rabaa al-Adawiya Square a year ago tomorrow. The massacre, HRW contends, was deliberate, premeditated, and readily qualifies as a crime against humanity:

The 195-page investigation based on interviews with 122 survivors and witnesses has found Egypt‘s police and army “systematically and deliberately killed largely unarmed protesters on political grounds” in actions that “likely amounted to crimes against humanity”. The report recommends that several senior individuals within Egypt’s security apparatus be investigated and, where appropriate, held to account for their role in the planning of both the Rabaa massacre and others that occurred last summer – including Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Egypt’s then defence minister and new president. As head of the army at the time, Sisi had overall responsibility for the army’s role at Rabaa, and has publicly acknowledged spending “very many long days to discuss all the details”.

HRW’s executive director Kenneth Roth, who was refused entry into Egypt for “security” reasons when he arrived in Cairo on Sunday to present the report’s findings, further details the role of Sisi:

There is every reason to believe that this was a planned operation implicating officials at the very top of the Egyptian government. Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim was the lead architect of the dispersal plan. His immediate supervisor, in charge of all security operations, was Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who was then defense minister and deputy prime minister for security affairs and is now Egypt’s president. In discussions prior to the dispersal, senior Interior Ministry officials spoke of anticipating thousands of deaths. The day after the slaughter, Ibrahim said it had all gone exactly according to plan, and later gave bonuses to participants.

The Rabaa dispersal was part of a pattern of cases across Egypt in which security forces used excessive force, including killing 61 participants at a sit-in protest outside the Republican Guard headquarters on July 8, and another 95 protesters near the Manassa Memorial in eastern Cairo on July 27.

But don’t hold your breath waiting for Sisi to be referred to the International Criminal Court. Owen Jones is outraged that the brutality of the Egyptian regime gets little press in the West, even as the US and UK funnel vast amounts of money, weapons, and other support to Sisi:

Too little has been said about Egypt’s human rights crisis. More than 40,000 people were detained or indicted in the first 10 months after the coup and, according to Amnesty International, the regime is usingmethods of torture from “the darkest days of the Hosni Mubarak era”. With “rampant torture, arbitrary arrests and detentions”, there has been a “catastrophic decline in human rights”. There have been claims of rape against male political dissidents; the use of electrocution, including on prisoners’ testicles; and in one case, a hot steel rod was inserted in the anus of a dissident who later died. …

Egypt is in the grip of a violent tyranny that brooks little dissent. And just as the west is complicit in Israel’s attack on Gaza, it equally shares some responsibility for the actions of Egypt’s regime. The question is surely, how many more corpses until we start holding those responsible to account?

Read the Dish’s extensive coverage of last summer’s bloodshed in Cairo here.