Deadly clashes in Egypt as Morsi held on murder suspicion

Updated 12 August 2013

Deadly clashes in Egypt as Morsi held on murder suspicion

CAIRO: Egypt Friday formally detained Muhammad Mursi for allegedly abetting Palestinian militants in murdering policemen and staging prison breaks, as clashes between the deposed leader’s supporters and opponents killed two people.
Mursi’s detention, under a court order for a renewable 15 days, further raised tensions as those applauding the decision and those demanding the Islamist leader’s reinstatement flooded parts of Cairo and other cities.
Two people were killed in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria in clashes between the rivals protesters, despite a massive police and military deployment to secure the rallies.
The Arab world’s most populous country has been convulsed by violence for the past three weeks, with some 200 people killed since Mursi’s ouster by the army on July 3, many in clashes between his Islamist supporters and his opponents.
At least 19 people were wounded in the Alexandria violence, in which riot police intervened. Ten people were wounded in clashes in Cairo, medical officials and the health ministry said.
The overwhelming number of Friday’s marches have remained peaceful, with thousands of Mursi’s supporters gathering in a north Cairo square before setting off through the streets.
At Cairo’s Tahrir Square, tens of thousands of anti-Mursi supporters gathered in response to a call by the army chief General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on Egyptians to show their support for a security clampdown on “terrorism.”
The protesters waved Egyptian flags and held up posters of Sisi, who served as Mursi’s defense minister before ousting him.
A leader of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood, Essam Al-Erian, said in a statement Islamists would respond to the detention of their leader with “peaceful marches.”
The Brotherhood however reacted angrily to his detention order, saying it smacked of tactics used by the regime of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s long-time strongman toppled in a popular uprising in 2011.
The accusations against Mursi include conspiring with Palestinian Hamas militants in attacks that killed policemen and prison breaks during the revolt against Mubarak, in which Mursi escaped along with other political inmates.
Mursi had been detained with other Muslim Brotherhood leaders overnight on January 27, 2011, hours after the Islamist group said it would join the revolt against Mubarak.
He is also accused of “premeditated murder of some prisoners, officers and soldiers, and kidnapping officers and soldiers,,” the state news agency MENA said.
Mursi is also suspected of conspiring to “storm prisons and destroy them... allowing prisoners to escape, including himself.”
Detention orders of the type ordered by the court are usually followed by moving the suspect to a prison. The military has so far kept his whereabouts secret to avoid attracting protests by his supporters.
Gehad El-Haddad, a Brotherhood spokesman, denounced the detention order, saying Mubarak’s regime was “signalling ‘we’re back in full force’.”
A court had on June 23 said Hamas militants facilitated the escape of prisoners during the tumultuous 18-day uprising that forced out Mubarak.
Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood which supports the Gaza militant group’s fight against Israel, also denounced Mursi’s detention.
“Hamas condemns this move since it is based on the premise that the Hamas movement is hostile,” spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP.

Tunisia’s ‘truth commission’ winds up four-year mission

Updated 12 December 2018

Tunisia’s ‘truth commission’ winds up four-year mission

  • The commission, whose mandate was extended in the spring until the end of 2018
  • At the end of November, the commission drew up criteria for compensation that exclude those with post-2011 government

TUNIS: After four years working “under fire” and interviewing almost 50,000 witnesses, Tunisia’s commission tasked with serving justice to victims of half a century of dictatorship is poised to submit its recommendations.

Set up in 2014 following the 2011 revolution and in the wake of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s fall, the Truth and Dignity Institute has a mission to “reveal the truth about the human rights violations” in Tunisia between 1955 and 2013.

In its final act, the commission will submit its recommendations to Tunisia’s leadership.

The first version is to be delivered at a public event on Friday and Saturday, before the full report is submitted by Dec. 31.

The government, with the assistance of a parliamentary follow-up committee, will have one year to draw up an action plan based on the recommendations.

The commission’s task was to collect and disseminate testimonies, send some of those suspected of rape, murder, torture or corruption to specialised courts, and recommend measures to prevent any recurrence.

Operating in the only Arab Spring country which has kept to a democratic path since the 2011 revolt, its mandate has also been to seek national reconciliation through a revival of the North African state’s collective memory.

The commission, whose mandate was extended in the spring until the end of 2018, has been studying more than 60,000 complaints and has this year sent dozens of cases to the courts.

Over the past four years, the panel has heard harrowing testimony from victims of torture in jail, some of which has been aired to large television audiences.

“From the very start we’ve worked under fire and come up against difficulties, due to the absence of political will,” commission official Khaled Krichi told AFP.

He said demands for the handover of judicial cases involving corruption had been rejected, as well as for archive materials from the Interior Ministry on prisoners who had suffered torture.

A contested amnesty law passed in 2017 cleared some officials suspected of administrative corruption.

The commission also faced political resistance with the return of former regime leaders to power, internal disputes as well as the lack of cooperation by state institutions.

Thirteen specialized courts have been set up and started work at the end of May on dozens of cases submitted by the commission.

Twenty trials are underway, mostly of victims of the 2011 revolution and of radical and leftist opposition figures tortured under the rule of Ben Ali or his predecessor Habib Bourguiba.

Krichi said settlements have been reached in 10 cases of financial corruption involving former regime figures, including that of Slim Chiboub, a son-in-law of Ben Ali, who has agreed to pay back 307 million dinars ($113 million).

The state, however, faced with accusations of torture and sexual violence, has rejected 1,000 demands for “reconciliation” with the victims. A row has also broken out over compensation cases, with members of Parliament claiming the costs would bankrupt the state and that many claims were designed to benefit supporters of extremist movement Ennahdha.

At the end of November, the commission drew up criteria for compensation that exclude those with post-2011 government or parliamentary posts.

Around 25,000 people are eligible to compensation from the Al-Karama (Dignity) Fund established in 2014, according to Krichi.

It is being financed by donations, a percentage of the funds recovered through settlements and a one-time government grant of 10 million dinars ($3.7 million).