Protesters fill Egypt's Tahrir Square Cairo 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany)
CAIRO - A state-appointed committee concluded on Tuesday that Egyptian police used excessive force against pro-democracy protesters in a damning report on their conduct during the unrest that toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
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The report was the first official account of the mass demonstrations that began on Jan. 25 and eventually ended the autocratic 30-year rule of Mubarak on Feb. 11.
The report said 846 protesters were killed and more than 6,000 wounded. Authorities had initially put the death toll at almost 380. Twenty-six policemen were also killed.
Many of the events described by the Fact Finding Mission, which took
more than two months to compile the report, unfolded on live television
and come as no surprise to Egyptians who witnessed the uprising.
But human rights activists said the report was a significant step
towards holding the former administration accountable, one of the
central demands of the protesters.
"The right of peaceful assembly is a recognized and basic human
freedom," the government appointed committee said in its report, which
will be used as evidence in court trials and investigations by the
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"It is needless to say that the incidents of shootings and the
consequential deaths throughout the events of the January 25 Revolution
breached legally mandated regulations," it said.
The report said police had used live ammunition, in addition to rubber
bullets and water cannon against the protesters, and drove armored
vehicles into the crowd, killing many.
It cited one officer who testified he was given orders to fire at
protesters. The committee said it had evidence that buildings adjacent
to Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the 18-day uprising, were used by
snipers, adding that many of those killed were shot in the chest and the
head.'Holding those responsible accountable'
"The committee sees that there was an order from the ministry of
interior authorizing the use of live ammunition to disperse protesters,"
the report said, adding that those in power had sanctioned the use of
Egypt's former interior minister Habib al-Adli and four other senior
officers are already facing trial on charges of killing protesters
during the uprising.
Mubarak is also being investigated on the same charges, which he denies.
The report said police officers were ordered to withdraw from the
streets, while looting was under way, to create chaos and instill fear
in the nation to thwart the protests.
During the uprising, media reported prison breakouts and the report said
that some evidence suggested that this happened with the knowledge of
It said in some cases, security forces fired tear gas and bullets at
prisoners to force them to escape. Other reports indicate the police let
them out of their cells.
The security forces were also implicated in sending out plainclothes
personnel, armed with batons, knives, guns and petrol bombs, to assault
the protesters. Some of these men charged at the protesters, on the back
of horses and camels, during one of the most dramatic days of the
Hafez Abou Saeda of the Egyptian Organization of Human Rights said the
report would help the state prosecutor bring many former officials to
"This report is very well done. It will be one of the foundations for
judicial trials and will be cornerstone to holding those responsible
accountable," he said.
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