Egypt denies Human Right Watch heads entry ahead of Rabaa report

Daily News Egypt
3 Min Read
Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth (Public Domain)
Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth (Public Domain)
Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth
(Public Domain)

Egyptian authorities turned away top Human Rights Watch directors, who arrived at Cairo International Airport Sunday to present a report on the dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya encampment one year ago.

HRW’s Executive Director Kenneth Roth and Middle East Director Sara Leah Whitson Egypt were denied entry and deported.  Roth posted on Twitter, “Rabaa massacre numbers rank with Tiananmen and Andijan but #Egypt government would not let me in to present report on it.”

Whitson said she was deported for “security reasons,” 12 hours after her arrival.

Roth and Whitson were set to present in a press conference on Tuesday the results of a year-long investigation by HRW on the dispersal of the Rabaa encampment. During the conference, titled, “All According to Plan: The Rabaa Massacre and Mass Killings of Protesters in Egypt,” the human rights watchdog was scheduled to present a 188-page long report including interviews with over 200 witnesses.

According to the conference invitation, “the report concludes that the systematic and widespread killings likely amount to crimes against humanity.”

The report not only looks into the Rabaa dispersal but also “documents the manner in which Egyptian police and army forces methodically opened fire on crowds of demonstrators opposed to the military’s July 3 ouster of [former president] Mohamed Morsi at six demonstrations in July and August 2013.”

On 14 August, 2013, Egyptian security forces dispersed the Rabaa sit-in, the largest pro-Morsi sit-in and a smaller encampment known as Al-Nahda sit-in. Exact figures on the number of protester deaths are still disputed.

Wiki Thawra, a website dedicated to documenting the Egyptian revolution, put the death toll of the Rabaa sit-in dispersal at 969 and that of Al-Nahda dispersal at 96. Official figures are lower. The Forensics Authority announced 627 deaths in the Rabaa dispersal and 21 in Al-Nahda.

HRW said the Rabaa dispersal left 817 people dead, “making it one of the world’s largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history.” HRW said, “one year later, no one has been held to account.”

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