Wed | Jan 23, 2019

2,600 killed after ouster of Islamist president

Published:Monday | June 1, 2015 | 12:00 AM
In this May 8, 2014 file photo, Egypt’s ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi sits in a defendant cage in the Police Academy courthouse in Cairo, Egypt.


At least 2,600 people were killed in violence in the 18 months after the military overthrew Egypt's president in 2013, nearly half of them supporters of the Islamist leader, the head of a state-sanctioned rights body said yesterday.

Mohammed Fayeq, head of the National Council for Human Rights, told reporters that the 2,600 included 700 policemen and 550 civilians who were killed in the period between June 30, 2013 and December 31, 2014.

The council is a nominally independent group sanctioned by the government. It has no judicial or law-enforcement powers.

The military overthrew Mohammed Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president, on July 3, 2013, amid massive protests demanding his resignation. In the following months, his supporters held regular demonstrations that set off deadly clashes with police and rival protesters.

The violence culminated on August 14, 2013, when police violently dispersed two pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo, killing at least 600 of his supporters. Islamic militants retaliated by attacking police stations and churches.

Since then, the military-backed government has waged a sweeping crackdown on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood - now outlawed and branded a terrorist group - and jailed secular activists for taking part in unauthorised street protests. Those jailed include some of the leading secular and left-wing activists behind the 2011 uprising that toppled long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

An appeals court in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria yesterday sentenced prominent activist and rights lawyer Mahienour el-Masry to 15 months in jail for her part in a demonstration by lawyers against police brutality three months before Morsi's ouster. Two other Alexandria activists were convicted and received a similar prison term.

On hearing the verdict, el-Masry chanted "Down, down with military rule!"