Human Rights Watch (HRW) published an article on Friday demanding President Mohamed Morsi release a confidential document which the Guardian newspaper alleged has been sitting on his desk since January. The statement was made in response to a Guardian article published earlier this week which contained a document allegedly leaked from the presidency which implicates several high-level army officials in the murder and torture of civilians during the immediate period after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.
The 16-page document published online by the Guardian is said to be a confidential presidential report that has sat on Morsi’s desk since January. The report is said to be written by a high-level fact-finding committee and implicates several high-ranking military officers.
On Thursday Morsi convened a meeting with the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) where it was announced that he would promote several high-ranking officers. Morsi’s decision to convene the SCAF meeting was in response to a “propaganda campaign” which paints the army in a bad light according to the state-run news agency MENA.
The promoted officers were identified on state television by Morsi; air force commander Younis El-Masry, air defense commander Abdul Manan Bayoumy and navy commander Osama El-Gendi.
According to MENA Morsi expressed his gratitude to the army, praising the role they played in securing the country and preserving national security.
The statement issued by HRW said Morsi “should immediately release the report by a fact-finding committee he created to investigate police and military abuses against protesters from January 2011 to June 2012.” The committee submitted its report to the president in December, but the president has not made it public, HRW said.
The report published by the Guardian alleges that live ammunition was used against protesters in Alexandria and Suez and the military is responsile for several dissapearances during the transition period.
“Releasing the fact-finding report would be the Egyptian government’s first acknowledgment of two years’ worth of police and military abuses,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Victims’ families have the right to know the truth about their loved ones’ deaths. Even if certain information can’t be made public in the interests of justice, all Egyptians need to know what happened.”
The report is believed to be written by a fact-finding committee established in July 2012 by then-newly appointed President Morsi. HRW said the fact-finding committee was composed of judges, an assistant public prosecutor, an assistant interior minister, the head of National Security Egyptian General Intelligence Services, human rights lawyers, and relatives of victims.
“The committee’s mandate was to gather information and evidence about the killing and injuring of demonstrators between January 25, 2011, and June 30, 2012, and to review the “measures taken by executive branches of government and the extent to which they cooperated with the judicial authorities and any shortcomings that may exist,”” HRW said.
Human Rights Watch stressed in its statement that crimes committed by security forces continue to go unpunished and, with the retrial of the former President set to take place on Saturday, accountability for serious human rights violations “should be a key priority for the government.”
“More than two years after the uprising, we are seeing new cases of police torture and excessive force in policing protests,” Houry said. “Without accountability and the political will for serious security reform, there can be little hope of ending the abuse.”