Egypt Parliamentary Election Violence Must Be Investigated

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Egypt Parliamentary Election Violence Must Be Investigated

WASHINGTON - Amnesty International today called on the Egyptian authorities
to fully investigate the deaths, violence and other human rights abuses
that marred last Sunday’s parliamentary elections.

At least eight people are reported to have died and scores more
wounded across the country as Egyptians went to the polls to elect
members to the lower house of parliament, the People’s Assembly.  Two
people are reported to have been killed by security forces in Assyout
and Wadi Natroun in circumstances which remain unclear but which may
have involved the use of live fire when dispersing crowds.

The other deaths are believed to have been the result of clashes between rival political parties.

“The Egyptian authorities must now open independent investigations
into the deaths and allegations of violence that have, once again, cast a
bloody shadow over Election Day,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty
International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Egyptian voters should have been able to rely on the security forces to ensure their safety not pose a threat to it.”

Amnesty International is concerned that Egyptians turning out to vote
were subjected to violence and intimidation during election day,
including beatings by security forces, and other violence as revealed by
mobile phone footage posted on the internet.

Footage also appears to show voters caught in the middle of violent
clashes between supporters of rival candidates mostly belonging to the
banned Muslim Brotherhood and the ruling National Democratic Party
(NDP).

“The Egyptian authorities must not ignore the damning footage of
violence and intimidation that is emerging,” said Malcolm Smart.

“They must give clear instructions to their security forces to
protect voters and uphold their rights, and that of candidates, without
discrimination during the runoff voting on 5 December – if further
violence and human rights abuses such as those that occurred on Sunday
are to be avoided.”

The Muslim Brotherhood, the largest organized political opposition to
the ruling NDP, has said around 180 of its members and supporters were
arbitrary arrested.

Representatives of Egyptian human rights organizations were
effectively barred from monitoring the voting by security forces,
despite holding permits issued by the High Elections Commission (HEC),
the official body charged with supervising the elections.  Some human
rights monitors were reportedly assaulted by security officials.

Despite this, the HEC said late on Sunday that the elections had been
“calm and orderly” with only limited instances of violence.

Egyptian human rights organizations are currently documenting the
violence that occurred on election day. They have established a task
force, hosted by El Nadim Centre for Rehabilitation of Victims of
Violence, to investigate and verify reported incidents of violence.
Local NGOs also formed the Egyptian Coalition for Monitoring Elections
and the Independent Coalition for Election Monitoring, to monitor the
conduct of the election and voting.

On Sunday, voters reported that they found some polling stations
closed for several hours, while at other polling stations, security
forces turned voters away. Journalists covering the elections for  Ahram
Online, Al-Dostour, Al Jazeera and el-Youm el-Saba'a newspaper say they
were harassed and in some cases arrested by security forces.

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Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights for all. Our supporters are outraged by human rights abuses but inspired by hope for a better world - so we work to improve human rights through campaigning and international solidarity. We have more than 2.2 million members and subscribers in more than 150 countries and regions and we coordinate this support to act for justice on a wide range of issues.

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