Impunity

I took over from Issandr this week to pen a post for the New York Times' Latitude blog about the so far unreleased (but now partly leaked) fact-finding report into the deaths and abuses of protesters, ordered -- but so far buried -- by President Morsi.

Last week, the British paper The Guardian published leaked chapters and several articles about the report that was written -- but not released -- by the fact-finding committee President Morsi created in July 2012 to investigate killing and injuring of protesters from the time of the revolution until his assumption of office (although in fact the committee appears to have focused on the revolutionary and early post-revolutionary period only). The Egyptian newspaper El Shorouk had already been reporting on the committee’s findings for several moths. Nour The Intern has heroically waded into these leaks and their coverage, to try to give us a sense of what has emerged from the committee’s work so far. Read it all after the jump. 

Read More

How it all started

There has been much confused speculation about how the violence between families of martyrs, demonstrators and police started last Tuesday night (even as that violence takes on new twists and turns). The interview below (in Arabic) carried out with Magdy Iskander Saad, the father of a martyr, by the online independent journalism site huqook dot com, tells an extraordinary story that I haven't heard elsewhere in such detail. The families of martyrs, the man says, were summoned to a theatre in Giza on Tuesday--because the army wanted to hear why they were protesting all the time. When they got there, army officers said they wanted to honor them and their dead children. (Now I'm paraphrasing what he says..) A mother of a martyr said, politely: "What do you mean a party? We don't care about parties. We want justice for our children's blood. And that justice is the death penalty for Habib Al Adli and his officers and Mubarak who told him: take care of things." The woman got into an argument with an army officer; it escalated; and he hit her in the face. Her son intervened -- and has already been condemned to three years in jail by a military court. The martyrs' families ran off (tearing down a picture of Mubarak they noticed on the way) and it all took off from there. At least according to this testimony. 

 

Fighting again in Tahrir

A stencil of the martyr Mustafa Al Sawy. The 25-year-old lab technician was shot in the chest by police on Kasr El Nil bridge on January 28

Violent clashes between protesters (including families of martyrs) and the police broke last night in and around Tahrir Square and have continued into this morning, leaving dozens injured. 

The spark appears to have been a memorial service for the families of martyr's at the Baloon Theatre in Agouza. People disrupted the ceremony (either the relatives of other martyrs, or people posing as them); a group marched to Tahrir, where they were met by riot police, tear gas and rubber bullets. Word spread, and activists and others joined the clashes with the police. 

This violence is the inevitable result of the lack of transparency and of momentum in the judicial proceedings against former regime figures and especially the police (something we talked about on the last Arabist podcast). The families of martyrs' were shut out of the last session of the Habib Al Adly (the former Minister of Interior) trial; they went wild when the trial was postponed again. Everyday I read and hear stories about police officers who are on trial (or should be) going back to work at their old posts; and about families being bribed or threatened ("We'll arrest your other son on drug charges") if they don't drop their cases. 

Read More