Human Rights Watch demands probe into 2013 Rabaa massacre

Human Rights Watch demands probe into 2013 Rabaa massacre
2 min read
13 August, 2018
Human Rights Watch made the appeal a day before the five-year anniversary of the worst mass killing in Egypt's history.
Demonstrators protest against Rabaa massacre [Getty]

Human Rights Watch has called for an international inquiry into an Egyptian government massacre at an Islamist sit-in in Cairo almost exactly five years ago.

On 14 August 2013, Egyptian security forces descended on supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, killing at least 817 protesters within a few hours. 

It was the largest mass killing in Egypt's modern history, with some putting the death toll at over a thousand. 

The international rights group said on Monday that Egyptian authorities have failed to investigate or prosecute a single member of the security forces responsible for the crackdown at Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya Square.

Instead, it noted, hundreds of peaceful protesters have been convicted since in unfair mass trials, aimed at crushing all dissent to President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi's regime. 

The violent dispersal came weeks after Morsi - Egypt's first democratically-elected president - was ousted following mass protests against his divisive one-year rule.

HRW's Sarah Leah Whitson says "five years on from the Rabaa Massacre, the only response from authorities has been to try to insulate those responsible for these crimes from justice".

Egypt later designated the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, and sentenced hundreds of members of the political movement to death.

Last month, Sisi approved a law that grants military commanders "immunity" from prosecution or questioning for any event between 2016 and 3 July 2018. Already, military officers can only be investigated by military prosecutors who works for the Defence Ministry.

Meanwhile, on Sunday a Cairo court handed Mohamed Badie and other senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood life sentences in jail. 

Tens of thousands of Egyptians have been detained since Egyptian authorities launched a crackdown in the aftermath of Morsi's ouster. 

Agencies contributed to this report.

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