Rule of law deteriorating in Egypt: AI

[JURIST] The rule of law continues to deteriorate in Egypt [press release], and human rights abuses are occurring with alarming frequency, according to two reports released Tuesday by Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website]. In the report [text, PDF] "Egypt: Brutality unpunished and unchecked: Egypt's military kill and torture protesters with impunity," AI says that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) broke its promises to protect human rights and has betrayed the people who catalyzed Egypt's "January Revolution." The report goes on to discuss virginity tests used on female protesters, the use of excessive force by the military transitional government, and the lack of resources and time afforded to a government commission that was tasked with investigating rights abuses. In the second report [text, PDF], "Agents of repression: Egypt's police and the case for reform," AI discusses the framework of impunity within which Egypt's law enforcement agencies operate. According to the report:

For many years, Egyptians viewed the police as a body to be avoided because of its record of human rights violations, rather than as an institution to resort to for protection. The Egyptian authorities today have a unique opportunity to rebuild the trust of the public in the police by ensuring significant and transparent reform is initiated. ... President Morsi should ensure that Egypt's new Constitution guarantees human rights, including, as a minimum, all those recognized and protected by international human rights treaties to which Egypt is a party. It must also ensure that the security forces most associated with abuse are revamped into accountable institutions serving everyone in Egypt without discrimination.
According to AI, without accountability for past human rights abuses and genuine reform to prevent impunity, justice for the victims of abuses will remain elusive.

There have been several controversial trials since the end of the revolution. At the end of September Egyptian Defence Minister General Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi ordered a reduced sentence [JURIST report] for a group of military officers who took part in opposition protests in April 2011. There were 22 officers, known as the April 8 Officers, arrested for their participation in protests [Egyptian Independent report] in support of the revolution and against SCAF and against retired Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi Soliman. Earlier in September an Egyptian court upheld the death sentences for 14 Islamists, and a court sentenced [JURIST reports] former prime minister Ahmed Nazif to three years for corruption. In August the former secretary for Mubarak's political party, Safwat El-Sherif, was referred to a criminal court [JURIST report] on corruption charges. He was accused of having abused his office by obtaining real estate at discounted prices and illegally obtaining $49.2 million. In July an Egyptian court rejected pleas to release [JURIST report] Mubarak's two sons while they await trial. Gamal and Alaa Mubarak, along with seven others, were charged with stock market fraud [JURIST report] and using unfair trading practices and illegally manipulating the market.

 

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