By Nicholas Piachaud, Egypt campaigner, Amnesty International
In Egypt, the army seems to be leading a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood. Soldiers seem to have killed dozens of protesters supporting the post-president Mohammad Morsi. This is a human rights crisis, which stretches all across Egypt. And much of this current political violence could have been better contained if the security forces had put plans in place to control it.
Instead, security forces seem to be resorting to their usual policy of responding to protests with unnecessary and excessive force.
Amnesty International’s researchers have been on the ground since before the current crisis began. Right now they are going from hospital to hospital and morgue to morgue trying to interview eyewitnesses and get first-hand accounts of what happened.
The mood in Cairo right now is incredibly polarized. It’s clear that neither side seems to be talking to each other and neither side has confidence in each other.
That’s part of why Amnesty International is calling for an independent investigation into the abuses that we’ve seen over the last few days. One which all sides to Egypt’s current political crisis can input into, suggest members of; something that will be a confidence-restoring measure.
This is a critical time for Egypt. What we can’t see is the kind of investigations that we saw under the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and under the rule of President Morsi in which abuses – serious human rights abuses – by the army and security forces were effectively covered up. The army cannot run it’s own investigation into these kinds of abuses.
Under military rule, the army and security forces killed over 120 protesters, military courts unfairly tried over 12,000 civilians, soldiers were filmed beating women in the street and they also subjugated women protesters to virginity tests. This is exactly the kind of record that the army now needs to avoid now that they seem to be one of the most powerful players in Egypt today.