The United States government on Monday has strongly condemned the violence which took place in Egypt over the weekend.
US State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said during a press conference that the US was “deeply disturbed by these incidents, including sexual assaults against women and the beating of a defenceless man [Hamada Saber] last week”.
Nuland said the US is aware the government had apologised for beating Saber, and stressed the need for investigations into such incidents.
The State Department spokesperson also expressed concern over persisting violence against women, which “is preventing women from exercising their right to peaceful assembly, freedom of association and freedom of expression”.
The US has urged the government to “thoroughly, and credibly, and independently, investigate all claims of violence and wrongdoing by security officials and demonstrators and to bring perpetrators to justice”, adding that accountability is the best way to prevent recurrences of these kinds of incidents.
“More broadly, as we’ve been saying since this spate of violence began, Egyptians participated in their revolution in order to bring democracy, in order to bring rule of law and freedom for all, not more violence, not sexual assaults, not looting,” Nuland said.
“All Egyptians, regardless of gender, political affiliation, or religion, deserve the right to safe assembly in public without fear of violence. And we call on the Egyptian government to make that possible.”
Investigations, Nuland reiterated, are the best way to ensure demonstrators also abstain from violent acts.
Commenting on the recent transfer of four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt, and the frequent reports of sexual assault by the police and army, Nuland said it is for this reason the US has taken a firm line, adding: “we are now in an Egypt with a democratically elected president who has to be president for all Egyptians and has to work with security officials to ensure that there is a safe and secure environment for all citizens of the country to express themselves peacefully.”
The US also encourages President Mohamed Morsi to take a firm stance against Iran’s nuclear program in the upcoming Organisation of Islamic Cooperation summit.