MECC Denounces Military Massacre of Islamists in Egypt

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Press Release 7/9/2013

For more comment: Stanley Heller, 203-934-2761

The Middle East Crisis Committee, a three decade old human rights group based in CT, is outraged by the massacre on July 8 of over 50 people in Cairo and the wounding of hundreds by the Egyptian military outside an army barracks. Not all the facts are clear, but eyewitnesses say that protesters were assaulted during morning prayers. The Egyptian military has a long history of brutality towards demonstrators. Human Rights Watch states that "In October 2011, soldiers killed 27 protesters outside the Maspero building in Cairo, and in December 2011, soldiers killed 17 protesters outside the cabinet building in downtown Cairo, and beat and kicked women protesters."

The committee notes with alarm that the Egyptian military has closed down the border with the Gaza Strip for four days. This is the sole entry and exit point for travel for Gaza Palestinians. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights has observed that most kinds of fuel have run out in the Gaza Strip. Cooking gas has run out in all gas stations in the Gaza Strip due to limited quantities allowed by the Israeli authorities into the Gaza Strip.

Despite claiming that it doesn't want to control the government, Egypt 's SCAF, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, has in fact taken ultimate control. It has used the demonstrations of millions opposed to the Morsi government to stage a coup to derail the ongoing Egyptian revolution.

MECC chairperson Stan Heller said, "A combination of forces have brought about the violence we're witnessing in Egypt now. Among those are the failures of Morsi's government to seriously address the growing grievances of millions of demonstrating Egyptians and, ironically, its refusal or inability to reduce the power of the Egyptian military and make it subject to Egyptian civilian rule. That helped make the coup possible."

The Middle East Crisis Committee calls for

1) an international impartial investigation into the killings of July 8.
2) ending all military trials of civilians in Egypt
3) release of political prisoners in Egypt
4) investigation and arrest police who tortured or raped prisoners
5 ) the immediate and complete opening of the border to Gaza for travel and trade.

Heller added, "In addition the U.S. government should obey U.S. law. That means it should end all military aid to the Egyptian military (as it should end all military aid to Israel for its long standing human rights violations and its nuclear bomb program)."

Human Rights Watch

Palestinian Center for Human Rights