Rights groups call on Morsy to follow through with abuse investigations

Rights groups call on Morsy to follow through with abuse investigations

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Thu, 24/01/2013 - 11:24

A day ahead of the 25 January revolution's two-year anniversary, two rights groups called on President Mohamed Morsy to follow through with the investigation of security force abuses and protesters' deaths.

New York-based Human Rights Watch called on Morsy to publish the findings of a committee tasked with investigating alleged security forces' abuses, saying the committee, formed in July, reported to the president in December.
 
"Without accountability and the political will for serious reform of the security sector, there can be little hope of deterring future abuse," the organization said.
 
Amnesty International, based in London, called for investigations into protester deaths.
 
At least 846 protesters died during the revolution, but only two police officers have been sentenced to prison over their deaths, HRW said, and Amnesty asserted that "no senior official or security officer has been convicted or justly punished for killing or injuring" protesters.
 
Both groups cited the retrial of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, former Interior Ministry Habib al-Adly and top security officials, after the Court of Cassation overturned the verdict in that case because of procedural mistakes. The ex-officials had been tried for involvement in the killing of protesters, and Adly and Mubarak received 25-year sentences, while the other officials were acquitted.
 
HRW also cited post-Mubarak security abuses over the past two years, saying the military has still not investigated allegations of torture or assault of protesters, despite promises to do so. 
 
The group emphasized issues with the military justice system in particular, saying it "has neither the inclination nor the degree of independence necessary to properly investigate and hold to account senior level officers responsible for human rights crimes."
 
Amnesty said it interviewed lawyers and victims' relatives who said many acquittals are due to "shortcomings in the evidence-gathering process." Video material, medical and forensic reports, and ballistic evidence "in many cases were not examined or even presented to the courts."
 
Relatives also told the group that several witnesses had faced intimidation, Amnesty International said.
 
"President Morsy needs to turn his promises into reality and demonstrate strong political will to deliver justice for human rights abuses committed against protesters, ensuring that all those responsible up and down the chain of command and regardless of rank or political affiliation are held accountable," the group said. "Only then will he be able to break with the legacy of past abuses, and avoid further killings of protesters."