by Adom M. Cooper
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East
SUEZ, Egypt–After a court upheld the release on bail of policemen accused of killing 17 people during an uprising, hundreds of family members of the victims displayed their own disapproval with the outcome. They attacked police cars and flung stones at the court building.
On July 4, 2011, the same sort of displeasure was festering in Cairo when the seven officers were originally granted bail. The snowball effect has been in full swing in Egypt as anger has been mounting about the slow pace of the trials for officials and security forces of former President Hosni Mubarak.
These seven officers are part of a group of 14 facing trial over the murder of 17 protesters and the wounding of 300 others. The other seven decided to flee and are currently being tried in absentia.
Activists have called for a demonstration this coming Friday, July 8, 2011, in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, hoping to muster more then a million protesters. Tahrir Square is the nerve center for the protests that forced former President Hosni Mubarak to resign on February 11th of this year.
Since that time, only one single policeman has been convicted in more than a dozen court cases over the death of approximately 850 people in the government-wide crackdown on protesters.
The case of these police officers is just a microcosm of the increased tensions in Egypt. The management of legal proceedings against security forces who used deadly force in the uprising, killing approximately 846 civilians and wounding thousands, has only further angered the protesters desiring change.
Egypt’s opposition movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, has decided to support Friday’s planned protest. Ayman Mohyeldin, an Al-Jazeera correspondent, shared these sentiments while reporting from Egypt on the developing situation:
“Military police are here on the scene, they are trying to control the situation, but so far they have been unsuccessful in pushing the crowd back. They have been able to secure the entrance to the building in order to secure the people from going in, but the situation outside remains very tense. This situation highlights the frustration Egyptians have toward the process of justice that is unfolding.”
At the other end of the spectrum, approximately 10,000 civilians face military trials for their participation in the protests. These trials have further spit fuel onto the fire of pro-democracy activists calling for the end of the oppressive methods of Mubarak’s regime.
For more information, please see:
NYT-Acquittals of Ex-officials Feed Anger Across Egypt-05 July 2011
Al-Jazeera-Riots outside Suez security building-06 July 2011
BBC-Egyptians riot in Suez over police trials-06 July 2011
Wall Street Journal-Rage at Police Fuels Egypt Rioting-30 June 2011