On January 25th, 2011, millions of Egyptians took to the streets to peacefully protest against decades-long of totalitarianism, torture and corruption by the Mubarak regime, to create a modern society based on stable and sustainable democratic principles, respect for human rights and rule of law undergirded by a written constitution. A democracy in which military and police are non-partisan, non-political and where government is held accountable before the people; the ultimate source of sovereignty and the supreme central authority.
Egyptians believed that democratic process, rather than violence, can deliver on their aspirations, and that should be the key to achieve security and stability objectives for the region and the world. Presidential elections were held and President Morsi became the first ever democratically elected civilian president in Egypt’s history.
All political parties in Egypt failed to realize that broad cross-party consensus, as well as electoral legitimacy were strongly needed. However, the failure of the political class as a whole to deliver the inclusive cooperation needed in this transition was exploited by elements of deep state and deposed Mubarak's regime to return and reclaim its control over society, worsening the state of political and ideological polarization, which exacerbated the crisis, and undermined efforts to create a political system capable of transitioning Egypt forward along democratic path. As a result, massive demonstrations broke out on June 30, 2012 by millions of Egyptians who took to the streets peacefully to express their opposition to President Morsi’s policies.
Instead of holding President Morsi’s government accountable before the Egyptian voters in free and fair elections, the military establishment overthrew the first democratically elected president in Egypt's history, suspending the constitution and dissolved elected parliament- putting an end to Egypt's democratic aspirations. Even more threatening is the temptation for unelected leaders to fiddle with procedures and ultimately undermine the principles of contingent consent and bounded uncertainty.
Following the coup, the military generals, the de facto rulers of the country, unleashed vicious campaign of arbitrary arrests among members and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, including President Morsi himself and his presidential team, who have been held incommunicado since the military coup on July 3, 2013 without the right to a due process. Ruthless state security forces known from during Mubarak era have returned in full force, cracking down on media personnel, censoring newspapers, closing down opposition TV stations, arresting, torturing and in some cased killing several journalists.
Roughly, an estimated 3000 Egyptians were killed, including women and children, and thousands more were wounded as police and army forces indiscriminately attacked anti-coup protesters in various parts of the country, and dispersed sit-ins in the areas of Republican Guards Club, Nahada and Rabaa Squares in the worst types of massacres in Egypt’s history.
Military and security apparatus have also failed to protect Coptic churches in Upper Egypt, which were attacked and torched, and failed to adequately investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of such heinous sectarian crimes and bringing them to justice.
This disregard to human rights and democracy marked all periods in Egyptian history where military was in power. During the period of The Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) taking over the administration of the country’s affairs, violations against civilians were committed by the military. These included the Mohamed Mahmoud incident, the Cabinet Building, many military trials for civilians, excessive use of emergency law, violence against opponents, torture – leading to death in many cases, and enforced disappearance of a large number of people, arbitrary arrests. These violations and atrocities continued until President Mohamed Morsi was elected.
During President Morsi's tenure, there was a noticeable improvement in official economic figures, and freedoms were greatly extended. However, the Egyptian police apparatus continued to violate human rights, and did not change in practice except in a relatively limited way unnoticeable to the average citizen, with clear police indulgence and laxness in doing their duty in achieving and maintaining security, law and order.
Following the military coup, security and judicial authorities were transformed into repressive tools subject to no control or oversight, their role changed overnight from maintaining law and order and achieving justice for citizens to practicing systematic terror against all political opponents of the new military-appointed regime.
The above resulted in the imposition of a state of emergency, quickly extended to a two-month period on September 12, 2013 after it had been lifted for one year under President Morsi, following thirty years of emergency rule under former President Mubarak.
Brutal exceptional laws made a full come back through the constitutional declaration issued by interim president appointed by the military coup leaders. Use of these oppressive laws was widely extended, with frequent referral of civilians to military courts, suppression of nonviolent demonstrations, killing of peaceful protesters, arresting unarmed demonstrators, repressing freedom of opinion and expression, imposing a curfew in various parts of the country, preventing citizens from going about their lives for a long period of time each day, shrinking the area of freedom to a minimum.
The constitutional declaration issued by the military junta through the appointed interim president was most disastrous. It linked all public freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to complex and restrictive legal procedures and did not provide any text criminalizing torture, detention, forced disappearances or arbitrary arrests by security apparatus. Nor did it provide any article that allows punishment of soldiers belonging to the armed forces for violations during their presence in civilian life.
This extensive apolitical report prepared by Insaniya Foundation and Human Rights Monitor (HRM) documents human rights violations and atrocities committed by the military junta in Egypt and the appointed interim government, and speaking up against the return of authoritarianism to Egypt, and in defense of democratic principles of freedom, rule of law and universal human rights, which have been repeatedly and brutally violated by the military coup commanders, such as: extra-judicial killing, torture and numerous cases of enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detentions, and military trials for civilians.
Over that short period also there emerged a widespread use of weapons and killings by civilians and thugs belonging to the security authorities with complete indulgence and complicity of the coup leaders- security officials in the army and police were given complete impunity before the courts, which resulted in the Attorney General and the courts ignoring all reports made by victims against identified armed thugs with full evidence, which in turn led to a state of obstruction of the legal and judicial system and the spreading of even more chaos throughout the country.
It is worth mentioning that state institutions have exercised systematic terror practices and intimidation against all political factions opposed to the coup, and caused the killing, burning, arrest, displacement and torture of many of them, in order to purge the state of all opposition and dissent, and to humiliate and break the will of the people and to prevent them from going forth with the democratic transformation and the freedom of opinion and expression, which the people reclaimed after the January 25 Revolution.
After the illegitimate removal of President Mohamed Morsi by the armed forces with the participation of some Egyptian political elites who failed to get in office through the ballot box. It focuses in particular on the crimes of extrajudicial killings which are executed systematically, and which amount to crimes against humanity by the ruling regime as defined in international law.
It should also be noted that the researchers who worked on this report did so in abysmal security conditions as the Egyptian government is keeping a heavy tight lid over its atrocities, completely hiding all evidence, and even refusing to reveal statistics on the number of dead, injured, missing persons and detainees in prisons. Further, anyone who is suspected of collecting any data, fact-finding, gathering evidence, or exploring the murderous events is arrested immediately. In fact, in most of the events mentioned in this report, the coup’s security forces and snipers deliberately targeted and killed researchers, photographers, journalists and anyone suspected of doing any task like making a documentary or observing the violent events.
It is also worth mentioning that government authorities strongly rejected formal requests made by lawyers representing Insaniya, HRM and victims’ families for official statistics on the numbers of dead, injured, missing persons and detainees in various events. Those authorities also refused to give any reasons for their blatant rejection. Insaniya, HRM and its researchers were thus not able to document with certainty and with official evidence except about 60% of deaths, 80% of the detainees, 20% of the wounded, and an undetermined percentage of missing citizens, due to the poor security conditions. Hence, we only managed to fully confirm names and figures contained and annexed to this report.
In writing the narrative or details of the events in this report, we adopted a neutral viewpoint based on reality witnessed by researchers, testimonies of witnesses, and evidence collected by researchers since the early signs of the military coup in Egypt in mid-June 2013 and until the date of the drafting of the report in 3 January 2014. Furthermore, we considered and researched official accounts and statements; we studied, investigated and verified the authenticity and truthfulness of those official accounts for each event separately, as described within the report.