- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -
Ottawa, August 14 2020
Remembering the massacres of Raba'a and Al Nahda squares (Egypt)- Aug 14, 2013
Calling for justice for the victims of Abdel Fatah El-Sissi, from 2013 to date
Today, Egyptian Canadians sadly commemorate the victims, peaceful protesters who opposed the deposition of President Mohamed Morsi, the first democratically elected president following a coup d'état orchestrated by then General Abdel Fatah El-Sissi, July 3rd 2013.
Immediately, after the announcement of the coup was made, supporters of the nascent democratic process poured in Rabaa al-Adawiya square (Nasr City) and al-Nahda square (Giza) in defiance. Their numbers swelled reaching thousands thus becoming the largest sit-ins in Egyptian modern history. They hoped their steadfastness would succeed in pressuring the military to restore Dr. Morsi* to the presidency. Protesters slept, ate, prayed, and camped in the squares for 45 days under the burning sun of Cairo.
On August 14, 2013 the military-backed government, officially ordered the dispersal of Rabaa and al-Nahda squares with armoured vehicles, bulldozers and hundreds of security forces moving in the early hours.
The brutal dismantlement of the sit-ins saw soldiers and police murder more than 800 protesters at Raba'a square in a matter of hours. Hundreds more were killed in Al-Nahda square. The exact number of the victims will never be known as countless bodies were not identified.
After a year-long investigation, Human Rights Watch (HRW) documented the events that led to the mass killings, interviewing witnesses, and reviewing video footage.
Based on the findings of its 2014 report, titled "All According to Plan"**, HRW concluded the killings "likely amounted to crimes against humanity" and "were part of a policy". Despite a wealth of evidence implicating the Egyptian army and police in killing the protesters, no one has ever been brought to trial.
HRW has called for an international, independent inquiry into the tragic event of Raba'a to no avail. "Without justice, Rabaa remains an open wound. Those responsible for the mass killings of protesters shouldn't count on being able to shield themselves from accountability forever", said Sarah Leah Whitson, then HRW's director for the Middle East and North Africa.
The massacres at Raba'a and Al-Nahda squares are not the only crimes committed under Abdel Fattah El Sissi. Since he usurped power in 2013, he continues to ruthlessly suppress any opposition. Imprisonment, torture and a complete disregard for law became the new order in Egypt. Presently, there are an estimated 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt, held in appalling conditions.
We, members of the Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD), continue to press for accountability, for the deceased and the detainees. To all the victims, we say, your sacrifices will not be forgotten. You will always be in our hearts and on our minds, today and every day.
About ECCD: The Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD) is a politically independent, non-affiliated pan Canadian organization that advocates for democracy and human rights in Egypt. The ECCD has representatives in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.
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*Dr. Mohamed Morsi died in prison, after six years of detainment, under dire conditions amounting to torture and total medical neglect.
** For more info about Rab'a Massacre please read HRW report https://www.hrw.org/report/2014/08/12/all-according-plan/raba-massacre-and-mass-killings-protesters-egypt