Following the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi’s presidency, many thousands joined peaceful sit-ins at public squares across Egypt. After six weeks, the security forces “dispersed” the protests – and massacred an estimated 1,000 people. Thousands more were injured, and countless simply “disappeared”, their families to this day not knowing if they are dead or alive.
The violence unleashed on those who had dared exercise their right to free speech should have shocked the world into action. But now, eight years later, surviving protesters are languishing in prisons, some facing execution, and yet the perpetrators of these crimes continue to enjoy immunity – at every level of the Egyptian state.
Over the past years, Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) has never stopped urging the world to intervene and make a difference; to stand up for human rights and aid families in their pursuit of justice, which is withheld by the politicized Egyptian judiciary, which has become a tool for the state against its opponents.
The Egyptian authorities provided protection and impunity for the perpetrators, and wasted the victims’ right to a remedy, while subjecting the survivors of the massacre to unfair trials in which they were sentenced to death and life and hard imprisonment.
In June of this year, the Egyptian Court of Cassation gave a final ruling confirming the execution of 12 prominent opposition leaders, survivors of the 2013 massacres. The blame for the massacre was forced upon its victims in court proceedings presided over by a politicised justice system operating in the interests of the ruling regime. The same court ruled that 437 other survivors, 22 of them children, be given prison sentences.
Not a single member of the security forces has faced the same fate – let alone the political and security forces who ordered them to commit the atrocities of that day, while victims were held responsible for the criminal acts committed during the dispersal by a politicized justice system that is controlled by the regime.
But the facts of history speak for themselves. Despite claims from the regime and its supporters in the Egyptian media, it was the security forces that caused the devastating violence on 14 August 2013.
Medical reports, video footage, burial documentation and first-hand testimonies have shown that most of the dead were deliberately killed, with shots to the head and heart. Their killings followed intense media misrepresentations of the peaceful protesters, portraying them as violent terrorists hoarding weaponry.
With the judiciary working against them at every turn, and with a regime dedicated to finishing the purge of dissidents it began eight years ago, there is no legal hope for the victims of the massacres or their families – and any opposition to the regime of Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi is brutally crushed.
The media was largely used to prepare the public opinion to accept the killing of these protesters, as this brutal crime took place amid intense media campaigns against peaceful demonstrators, which portrayed them as violent terrorists with live weapons, and today the preparations are being made to kill those who survived the massacre or imprison them for life.
The Egyptian regime is continuing this oppression because it knows the international community will do nothing against it. While there have been vague statements condemning the violence and urging “conciliation”, nothing has been done.
AOHR UK demanded a number of international bodies and world decision makers including the European Parliament, the European Commission, European Council, UN Secretary General and the German Foreign Ministry to take a serious stance and ensure justice for the victims of Rabaa and Nahda dispersal massacres.
AOHR UK called for a full and transparent international investigation into the events of August 2013 and their continuing effects until today.
It also called for the release of all political prisoners, including those in immediate danger of the death penalty, and to reveal the fate of all those who have been forcibly disappeared to be released to their families.
How many more must die, languish in prison, or disappear before the international community takes action?