What happened a year ago outside the Cabinet Office?
On 16 December it will be a year since soldiers tried to forcibly disperse a three-week-old peaceful sit-in outside the Cabinet Office in central Cairo. Five days of clashes followed, during which 17 protesters were killed and nearly 1,000 injured. Each day this week we bring you the story of one of the victims and a recommendation from Amnesty International to the authorities.
Case 1 – protester injured
On the morning of 16 December, Habi Anan Ali El Shahawy joined the protesters in Qasr Al-Eini Street. At about 10.30am, he said, paratroopers and soldiers with shields, masks and body armour stormed out of the Parliament’s gates and chased protesters in both directions. They then barred the street, leaving protesters on the side of Tahrir Square. Protesters and soldiers supported by “thugs” started throwing stones at each other.
El Shahawy saw two officers with guns standing alongside the troops. Then suddenly, without warning, three protesters were shot in the legs. El Shahawy was next. At about 11.30am he was talking on the phone when an officer pointed at him and walked in his direction. He could clearly see the officer’s face as he shot him in the stomach. Protesters carried him to the hospital along with other injured people.
El Shahawy recognised the officer who shot him from photos in newspapers. His lawyer filed a police complaint, but El Shahawy has yet to be questioned.
Amnesty International’s recommendation
To deal with this legacy of human rights abuses, the authorities should ensure that those criminally responsible for unlawful killings and injuries in policing demonstrations are brought to justice in proceedings that meet international standards of fair trial (and with no possibility of the death penalty).
Amnesty International is a global movement of more than three million supporters, members and activists in over 150 countries and territories who campaign to end grave abuses of human rights.
Read Amnesty’s report on abuses committed by Egypt’s military.