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The cover-up committee

Suddenly, out of nowhere, Egypt had a “fact-finding” committee looking into the Rabaa Al-Adawiyya and Al-Nahda Square massacres. The problem is that this committee was put together by the coup government responsible for the massacres and should therefore be called the cover-up committee, as the information in its report is false and as far from the truth as it is possible to be. This is the truth that a real “fact-finding” committee would have searched for and reported with full impartiality. However, how can it be impartial when it was formed by the coup so that it could control it and dictate what was written in its report?

As expected, the report has acquitted the government of all crimes against the people, although it did offer a mild rebuke to ministers for throwing dust in the eyes of the people with regards to the number of victims, which was reduced to 623. The committee did give the government an excuse, as the shooting was random and from all directions and the government had repeatedly urged and pleaded with the protestors to evacuate the squares and gave them a safe way out, but they were stubborn and insisted on staying on the streets. In addition to this, their leaders did not respond to calls for dialogue to find a political solution to stop the bloodshed.

It is also worth noting that the “fact-finding” committee’s report said that the first person to be killed in this massacre was a police officer, obviously trying to portray the violence as being started by the protestors. It referred to them as crowds, as if they were gathered in a café for pleasure rather than to call for the restoration of their confiscated rights.

In this travesty of a report, the committee refused to refer to the Rabaa sit-in; instead, it called it a “gathering”, which violates human rights conventions and norms. The report also violated such norms by praising the June 30th “revolution” and condemning the Constitutional Declaration issued by the legitimate Egyptian President, Mohamed Morsi. This proved the committee members’ complete partiality and bias in favour of the coup government.

The report is written through the eyes of the government which chose what it wanted to see and be seen by the people. So the army officers, soldiers, tanks and aircraft in, around and above Rabaa Al-Adawiyya Square are missing from this particular account of the massacre. Indeed, the report made no mention of the army at all, thus exonerating the then Defence Minister, a certain Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. It also failed to mention the 33 detainees who were suffocated in the back of a police van; it only mentioned the officers and soldiers who were killed after June 30th. It did not hold the police responsible for the massacre of the century; instead, the blame is placed on the Muslim Brotherhood. Have you known anything more farcical than this?

This “fact-finding” committee’s report is the ultimate example of injustice, lies and slander, so much so that it has already been rejected by international human rights organisations. Human Rights Watch described it as biased and nothing more than a government publication.

I did not expect anything good from this committee from the moment that I realised that it was formed by the coup government. I am certain that it was only formed in order to get the authorities off the hook and make them look good to the international community. However, the reverse has happened; it has tarnished an already shattered image even more, not least because of its rejection by well-respected human rights groups.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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