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Islamist detainees backed by Amnesty

Thousands of Morsi supporters and Islamists now find themselves deprived from the same legal rights as Christian victims of sectarian violence.  Unacceptable, says Amnesty.

By Alice Tegle, correspondent, EgyptianStreets.com

Supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi protest against the government on September 10, 2013 in Cairo (AFP/File, Mahmoud Khaled)

Supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi protest against the government on September 10, 2013 in Cairo (AFP/File, Mahmoud Khaled)

Detained pro-Morsi protesters and other Islamists are being denied access to lawyers and relatives and are detained without trial, according to Amnesty International.

“The failure of the Egyptian authorities to respect due process for people who have been arrested is a worrying sign,” the organization said in a statement Thursday.

Security forces have arrested at least 3,000 people, mostly Morsi supporters since July 3rd, according to lawyers representing them. Among the detained was a woman with a broken leg, held for four days without being transferred to hospital or being allowed to see a doctor. 

“Unacceptable”

Today, Morsi-campaigners are receiving support from Amnesty International’s Middle East director.

“Everyone must be equal before the law. It is unacceptable for supporters of Morsi or the Muslim Brotherhood to be singled out for unfair treatment based on their political affiliations,” said Philip Luther.

The charges include murder, attacking security personnel, possession of weapons, and inciting murder and other violence. Muslim Brotherhood lawyers said they could not attend interrogations because they were being carried out during the curfew hours.

Equal injustice

Human rights organizations concerns about Egypt´s legal system are not new. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have repeatedly raised the alarm over Egypt’s failure to give Christians a fair trial after the past year´s increase of sectarian violence.

A report released September 11, by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, expresses the same concern.

“Prosecution and intimidation aimed at curbing freedom of opinion, belief and expression by unofficial social actors are increasing,” claimed the report, noting that Egyptian civilians facing unjust treatment by the legal system include both Sunni Muslims and Christians.

“These violations are rooted in the existing political, social and legislative environment, and they continue – even after the fall of Morsi.”

BACKGROUND

  • Since 3 July, Egyptian security forces have arrested at least 3000 people and released 600.
  • At least 2200 people are still being held in the prisons of Tora, Abu Zabaal, Cairo Appeal, Wadi El-Natroon, El-Kanater  and Al-Salam Central Security forces camp in Cairo.
  • The arrests were carried out after the security forces forcibly dispersed pro-Morsi sit-ins in the past two months.
  • The events add to the series of civilian Egyptians being arrested without a fair trial.

 

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