The officers and men of Egypt’s security services who smashed the anti-coup, pro-Morsi protests last month leading to the deaths of thousands of civilians have been rewarded for their efforts. Hundreds of thousands of people were also wounded when the protests were broken up “with excessive force” in mid-August.
The Interior Minister, General Mohamed Ibrahim, has announced that a total of 30 million Egyptian pounds (almost £3 million) has been set aside for the payments. The amounts will range from £20 per private soldier to £40 for a more senior officer. Such sums are very significant in Egypt’s parlous economic situation.
Human Rights Watch called the “rapid and intense use of excessive force” by the coup security forces “the worst mass killing in modern Egyptian history”. A report by the organisation says that the police decision to use live ammunition against unarmed civilians reflected a “lack of concern for international standards of policing regarding the use of lethal force”. The authorities, alleges Human Rights Watch, failed to provide a safe exit for demonstrators, including those in need of urgent medical attention.
“This represents a serious violation of international standards,” the report says. “We did not find any evidence to justify the rapid resort to lethal force on a large-scale by the police against a large number of unarmed demonstrators.”