Sunday, December 18, 2011

They lie.. A brief history of Egyptian Military rule since January

December brings us a new wave of revolt demanding the SCAF's transfer of power to civilian rule, and an unprecedented wave of violence and human rights violations by military police. Let us not forget the military violence and restraint of freedoms has been escalating, albeit prevalent since January. Here is a brief history ending with a vast array of videos and pictures covering the last 48 hours.

The kidnapping and assault of protestors (beating and torture in some cases too) can be traced back to the 18 days in Tahrir . However most arrested protestors chose to keep their testimonies confidential and a number retracted them. January was still a time when people were willing to believe.

A report by Human Rights watch on the 9th of February documents the military's detainment and torture of peaceful activists as far back as January 30th. These are the diaries of activists and protestors arrested from February onwards collected by the No to Military trials campaign. The first confrontation between army and protestors that launched the No Military trials campaign was on the 26th of February, when peaceful protestors Amr El Beheiry and 9 others were arrested, presented before a military court and convicted with up to 5 year sentences with false charges and minimal investigation.

On the 9th of March over 100 people were arrested in a violent clearing of Tahrir square by the military. Of these were 18 girls who were beaten, photographed and submitted to 'virginity tests' as described in a report by Amnesty International. These also included Aly Sobhy , accused of being of a thug, and who was to be sentenced and convicted had it not been for the launch of the No Military trials Campaign that pressured for his release, and succeeded. Many unnamed and unknown protestors and passer-bys who were arrested that day are still in military detention.

In addition to this, on the 28th of March Military police stormed into the home of 28 year old blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad and arrested him for his blog entry: "The army and the people wasn't ever one Hand". Maikel was charged with 'insulting the military establishment' and sentenced to three years of improsinment, eventually shortened to two years. Maikel's arrest is not only a violation of his freedom of expression, but the way he was sentenced and the charges that were leveled against him in the Military courts were also violations in and of themselves.

In the early hours of the 9th of April, and after a Friday protest (on the 8th) where defecting military officers joined the revolutionaries , the military stormed, in what was the bloodiest and least documented attack until then, killing at least two people. The defecting military officers were shot and/or kidnapped. Their fate is still a mystery. More on this with footage in the Guardian .

The violence, killing, arrests , torture, military trials and convictions continued through milestones such as the attack on a protest by families of the martyrs on the 28th of June; the forced eviction of Tahrir on the 1st of August (and the Guardian); the attack on protestors infront of the Isreali Embassy on the 9th of September (19 arrested); attack on protestors in Abasseyya and near the Ministry of Defense on the 30th of September (11 arrested, one killed).

On the 9th of October the military attacked a peaceful march that consisted mostly of Copts in front of the Maspero State Television and Radio building. Armoured Personnel Carriers and live bullets killed 28 people and injured hundreds. When the Army launched its illegitimate investigation, the first suspect they named was Mina Daniel, killed that night. Alaa Abd El Fattah, a prominent blogger and activist, was called in to the prosecutor and, on refusing to accept the legitimacy of the Military Prosecutor's investigation on a crime in which it is implicated, was imprisoned. He has now been in jail for 50 days.

The 19th of November witnessed the beginning of a fresh wave of the revolution, demanding an end to military rule and a clear dated plan for the transfer of power, after 11 months of restricted freedoms deemed the possibility dim. The Tahrir sit-in was met with a battle lasting 5 days where the military and riot police used a particularly toxic tear gas, rubber and live bullets on protestors. At least 40 protestors were killed and over 1,700 injured. Here is a series of videos documenting that bloody week.

A report was released by Amnesty after the bloody week highlighting military violations and erosion of human rights since the revolution.

Since the elections, protestors still waiting for a clear time-line for the transfer of power, and the immediate resignation of a murderous army, moved the sit-in to the ministerial cabinet, to let traffic flow through Tahrir, and prevent the newly assigned government by SCAF from operating before their demands were met.

On the 16th of December, a protestor in the sit-in was kidnapped and brutally beaten for asking an official in civilian clothing (suspected of kidnapping protestors) for his ID. Clashes erupted and protestors were met with live and rubber bullets, as well as the throwing of stones, furniture, concrete slabs and china from atop the Ministerial cabinet by military police.

The violence has been indiscriminate, targeting (and sexually assaulting) women, elderly, foreign and local journalists and the killing of an Azhari Sheikh. At least ten others have been killed in the last 48 hours, hundreds injured, over a hundred arrested.

In circumstances as grave as these, every citizen is a freedom fighter, and every man, woman and child, armed with a phone or camera, becomes a witness to the violence and a citizen journalist. And here is the coverage, of 100s of videos and tens of testimonies, to date.

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