Fact finding mission says 846 dead and 6,467 injured in Egypt’s uprising
In this Jan. 29, 2011 file photo, Egyptians carry the body of a protester covered by Egypt’s flag who was killed during clashes with anti-riot police in Cairo. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)
CAIRO: The official fact-finding mission investigating the death toll of Egypt’s revolution released on Tuesday its final report, saying that at least 846 were killed and 6,467 injured during the popular uprising that toppled the Egyptian regime and forced president Hosni Mubarak to step down in February.
According to a 30-page summary of the 400-page report, the revolution also left 26 officers and one prisoner dead.
The report confirmed that police fired live ammunition at peaceful protesters across Egypt starting Jan. 25, adding police only use live rounds if they are authorized to do so by a committee headed by the interior minister and high ranking officers.
“The fatal shots were due to firing bullets at the head and the chest,” the report read, adding that “a huge number of eye injures,” filled hospitals, and hundreds lost their sight.
The mission held Mubarak ultimately responsible for the killing of the protesters since his interior minister, Habib El-Adly, had issued the orders to open fire.
Mubarak and his sons Gamal and Alaa are also being investigated on suspicion of involvement in the killing of protesters during the 18-day uprising.
“What is confirmed is that Mubarak’s permission (to use live fire on protesters) must be obtained. The shooting lasted for several days, and he did not hold accountable those who fired live rounds,” judge Omar Marwan, the mission’s secretary general, said at a press conference on Tuesday.
“That confirms his involvement in responsibility,” he said.
Marwan said that the snipers who shot live ammunition at protesters in Tahrir that day were officers from the anti-terrorism department.
A former army official told the mission that the police had orders to withdraw from their posts and wear civilian clothes on Jan. 28, a claim that was backed by witnesses in Al-Kasr El-Aini hospital.
The enquiry is based on accounts of 17,058 officials and eyewitnesses along with 800 video clips and pictures obtained from individuals who were present at the protests, Marwan said.
The mission also investigated the incident captured in a YouTube video, in which a white van ran over several protesters on Qasr El-Aini Street on Jan. 28.
The report cited videos that showed the police encouraging prisoners to escape in order to cause mayhem and frighten people.
Prisoners escaped from 11 of Egypt’s 41 prisons, representing 26 percent of prisons, according to the report.
Palestinian group Hamas was also accused of breaking into Abou Zaabal prison in which 29 inmates affiliated with Hamas and Hezbollah were kept.
Taher Abou El-Nasr, human rights lawyer at the FDEP, told DNE that the report confirmed what all Egyptians knew about the involvement of the interior ministry in killing peaceful protesters and causing the security vacuum.
“However the evidence that the report presents will help us as human rights lawyers in supporting our legal cases against the regime,” said Abou El-Nasr. –Additional reporting by agencies.
By Heba Fahmy /Daily News Egypt April 19, 2011, 7:40 pm