By Ahmed Mansour
In a statement issued to coincide with International Human Rights Day on December 10, human rights groups on Tuesday urged the Egyptian government to investigate the mass killings of protestors by security forces and armed forces during the dispersal of Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins at Rabaa Adaweya Square and Nahda Square.
"There can be no hope for the rule of law and political stability in Egypt. Without accountability for what may be the single biggest incident of mass killing in Egypt's recent history on August 14" said Gasser Abdel-Razek, associate director at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, to Reuters.
The alliance of the 13 human rights groups, which include international watchdogs Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, said the state prosecutor should give the matter more attention and arrest the ones responsible for the death of the protestors with “unjustified use of excessive force.”
"A small minority of protesters used firearms that day, but the police responded excessively by shooting recklessly, going far beyond what is permitted under international law," the statement continued, adding that the Egyptian government should set up a fact-finding committee as a first step towards accountability and seek of justice.
The Ministry of Interior responded to the alliance's allegations with a statement denying the authorities had used excess force to scatter the sit-in; the ministry asserts that Morsi supporters fired first, so the police had no option but to fire back.
Speaking with Egypt Today, Mohamed Radwan, official spokesmen of Al-Dostoor Party, says, “The Muslim Brotherhood had no intentions of leaving despite all the warnings they received form the security forces and the armed forces. There is a lot of evidence that proves they had weapons concealed in their camps, and that is an indication that they used those weapons to fight back. So by common sense; how do you expect the police to respond?”
Alongside the public statement, the rights groups also issued a list detailing four other incidents of mass killings of ousted President Mohamed Morsi’s supporters; in total, the alliance put the death toll for the other incidents at 333, while noting that 3 members of the security forces were also killed.
Also on Tuesday, Morsi supports clashed with the security forces at Al-Azhar and Cairo universities, with tens injured but no deaths.