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The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights



Cairo, 12 September 1998

An EOHR report on incidents of spontaneous violence in Egypt during 1998

(Damarouh, El-Fawakhreya, Kafr El-Geraya, Belkas and El-Hamoul)


"No way out Fears of a new stage of social violence" is the first EOHR report to deal with the increasing social phenomenon of the spontaneous outbursts of violence that occur when ordinary citizens feel helpless and hopeless as a result of finding no means to achieve their legitimate demands. This phenomenon is, in fact, not new in Egypt. Occasional explosions of violence were common both in rural and urban areas, to the extent that it is said that Egyptians resort to spontaneous non-organized violence as the main way to express their protest and refusal of certain situations. Although this form of violence has seen a serious increase over the past two decades, the Egyptian Government as well as official and non-official bodies tend to ignore it in face of the pressing demands exerted upon them by the fierce battle between the security forces and armed Islamic groups. The official media used to categorize those acts as riots punishable by the law.

The present report reviews some of the major acts of spontaneous violence occurred in Egyptian villages and cities in 1998. It contains three main parts:


Reviews the violent incidents that took place in Damarouh village, Kafr Al-Sheikh, on 25 July 1998, because of lack of clean drinking water supply in the village.


Covers the events that took place in the pottery area of Fawakhreya, Cairo; and in Al-Korna, Luxor; and Al-Geraya, Sharkeyya, all of which witnessed fierce clashes between residents and the police because of the arbitrary implementation of administrative orders to remove some buildings.


Deals with the clashes that occurred between residents and police in Belkas town, Dakahleya, and Al-Hamoul, Kafr Al-Sheikh, following the death of two citizens in police stations.

The words "no way out" refer to a number of social and legal practices that hinder people's efforts to attain their economic, social, civil and political rights. On the social level, information documented by the EOHR reveals that most of the citizens involved in spontaneous acts of violence belong to the poorer groups of society and have no institutions or organizations that reflect their interests. Nor have they connections with political parties. Therefore, they are often subjected to arbitrary administrative and security measures that disregard their basic needs and demands, as was the case in Damarouh village; the arbitrary implementation of orders for the removal of some buildings in Al-Fawakhreya, Al-Korna and Kafr Al-Guraya; or the torture - in some cases to death - and ill-treatment in police stations, as in Belkas and Al-Hamoul, where the demands of the relatives of the victims for impartial legal action against the perpetrators were disregarded. The EOHR observes that the kind of relationship between these poor groups and the authority and its representative bodies is one of oppression and guardianship. The rights and freedoms of these citizens are decided according to the limits allowed by the authorities, and are usually below the minimum level necessary for them to preserve their life and dignity. When they try to demand their rights and basic freedoms by peaceful means, they find nothing but closed doors in front of them. Hence, spontaneous violence emerges as a reaction to denial and oppression. The circle is once again closed around a suppressed violence that explodes from time to time.

The phenomenon is aggravated by the tough methods used by the security forces to break gatherings and demonstrations, as if they were punishing people collectively for their peaceful protest against the state of negligence and oppression they suffer. In the absence of dialogue, citizens have only two options: either to give in to the existing state of oppression and injustice or to resort to violence as the last rescue after the channels of dialogue and peaceful interaction have been closed. Both choices have a very high cost for the whole society.

The events of Belkas are a clear example of what is said above. In the past, there had been numerous complaints of ill-treatment in the Belkas police station. Nevertheless, the official authorities did not take any action to stop the practice and punish those responsible. It was therefore natural for the police officers to feel that they had immunity from punishment. This brought as a result the death of one person from torture. The people demanded peacefully investigations into the event and that those responsible were brought to justice, but the doors were closed in front of them. The police and the security forces imposed a blockade on the town, opened fire and used tear gases against the people, causing the death of another victim and the wound and arrest of many more.

On the legal level, the EOHR observed that there is a kind of legislative violence practiced against some sectors of society, particularly in the last two decades. Old laws were invoked and new laws of an exceptional nature were introduced to the Egyptian legal system. The main priority of these laws as a whole is 'maintaining order and security' over the values of justice and equality among the people. This situation has limited the space for the pursuit of legitimate rights and demands in the legal, political and social sense to the extent that when certain groups do so, this becomes an illegitimate practice. The cases included in this report reveal that the police committed gross violations against the rights of citizens. Nevertheless, the existing legal system does not prevent the occurrence of these violations, and sometimes even legitimates them. The following will help clarify this.


Flagrant violations and closed legal doors

Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that: "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person." Thus, this is a basic right guaranteed by international standards and whose ratification by the Egyptian Government makes it part of the domestic legislation by virtue of article 151 of the Egyptian Constitution.

Also, article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states that: "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment "; and article 6/1 of the same Covenant: "Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life."

Article 2 of the Convention Against Torture (CAT) states that: "Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction."

In spite of the broad safeguards provided by international treaties and the Egyptian Constitution to protect the right to life and personal safety, Egyptian laws still include some provisions that give law enforcement officials wide powers to arrest and question people. Such provisions, in addition, provide lenient punishments for the cases in which the involvement of a policeman in the torture of a citizen is proved.

In article one of the CAT, ratified by Egypt in 1986, torture is defined as "For the purpose of this Convention, the term 'torture' means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physically or mentally, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purpose as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for having committed, or intimidating or coercing, him or a third person, or for any reason, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions." Nevertheless, article 126 of the Egyptian Penal Code deals with one case only, that is the case of a public official who proved to be responsible for torturing a citizen in order to extract a confession. It has been virtually proved in Egypt that police officers resort to torture for many additional reasons, a situation that is not covered by Egyptian law.

In addition, article 129 of the Penal Code imposes lenient punishments in these cases: "Any civil servant, public employee, or any person in charge of public services who, based on his position, uses cruelty with the people in a manner that would hurt their honor or cause them physical pain shall be imprisoned for no more than one year, and pay a fine of no more than LE 200."

Within the policy of 'closing the doors', the law prevents victims of abuses from bringing direct lawsuits in such cases. Although article 232 of the Criminal Procedure Code allows a civil rights claimant the right "to bring a direct lawsuit and demand the attendance of his opponent before the court"; paragraph two of the same article prohibits the civil rights claimant from bringing a direct lawsuit when it is against a civil servant, a public employee or a law enforcement official for a crime committed during the performance of their job or because of it. Also, articles 162 and 210 of the Criminal Procedure Code deny the civil claimant the right to challenge the orders made by the investigating judge or the public prosecutor on the grounds that there is no justification for the criminal suit when it concerns an accusation against a public employee during the performance of his job or because of it.

Also, and within the same policy, the authorities failure to investigate allegations of torture and illegal detention has become a constant routine and a very serious one as it encourages police officers to continue to torture and ill-treat citizens.

The EOHR believes that such provisions open the door for granting impunity to officers accused of using torture and cruel treatment. This is particularly true given that an investigation into allegations of torture takes from one and a half to two years in the best estimations, and they often end in the closure of the investigation by the public prosecutor.

Therefore, torture with its potential consequences of the death of the victims will remain among the major violations that pave the road for social violence against the police. Such violence comes in reaction to the flagrant injustices suffered by the people on the one hand, and to the perception that the current laws do not give redress to the victim, and even protects the perpetrator.


In all the cases included in this report many citizens were randomly arrested and faced charges of assembling, rioting, resisting the authorities and damaging public property. These charges were brought against them by virtue of the assembly law, Law no. 10 of 1914(, which includes stiff penalties for assembly crimes. This law, issued on 18 October 1914 in exceptional circumstances, is a remnant of the past. At that time, the country was under British occupation and in a state of war. Therefore, it was always a subject of constant protests. On 27 December 1927, the Egyptian Parliament unanimously agreed to revoke it, but then the Parliament was dissolved and martial law was declared, preventing the cancellation of the law.

Regrettably, this exceptional law remained within the Egyptian legal system. It was even furnished with additional articles to stiffen penalties. This took place in 1968, when the President of the Republic issued Decree no. 87 of 1968 adding article 3 bis, which increased the maximum punishment stated for any crime in case the perpetrator carried out the crime in one of the circumstances mentioned in articles one and two. This amendment came in reaction to the demonstrations that swept the country in 1968, following the defeat of June 1967.

The present report points out that those who were arrested by virtue of that law were released only after long periods of imprisonment and renewal of imprisonment. The EOHR's concerns are accentuated as the period of preventive detention and trial may be prolonged. There is a serious precedent in this regard when, after the riots of 18 and 19 January 1977 which ignited all over the country, thousands of people were arrested and faced charges of illegal assembly. They were brought before the criminal court by virtue of this law. The trial of some of those arrested lasted for about three years, when they were finally acquitted.

Number of people arrested in the events covered by this report:

Damarouh 42 Belkas 36Al-Fawakhreya 73 Al-Hamoul 42 Luxor 11 Kafr Al-Geraya50


The facts included in this report show that the police decided, as usual, to punish the people themselves. Through their excessive use of force, they turned the situation into a real tragedy, although there was absolutely no justification for the use of weapons. Nothing would permit the members of the police to fire such amounts of ammunition randomly, in all directions and for hours as it happened in all the cases, as stated by eyewitnesses to the EOHR. In all the cases monitored by the EOHR the people were not warned before the police opened fire, a condition which is stated in the police law no. 109 of 1971, which regulates the use of weapons and confines it to the following:


Third: To disrupt an assembly or demonstration of five people at least, in case their gathering endangered public security. This will be after warning the assembly to disperse. The order to open fire must be made by a head who must be obeyed. In all the three cases, firing must be the only means to achieve the mentioned objectives. The policeman shall first warn of his intention to open fire before doing so. The Minister of the Interior shall make a decision on the procedures to be followed in all instances, including the warning and shooting."

In this regard, Decision no. 286 of 1972 was issued by the Minister of the Interior approving the stay in force of Minister of the Interior Decision no. 156 of 1964 on the use of fire weapons. This decision determines that the use of fire weapons must be within the necessary level and after exhausting all other means, and that firing must be in the air and with all precautions in order not to hurt an innocent person. In case of using fire, the shooting shall aim at the legs."

The cases included in this report show that the police exceeded the legal frame that governs its practice. Eyewitnesses' reports said that the police fired randomly and intensively, and noticed the following common features in all the incidents:

The people were not warned.

The victims and those wounded had not participated in the events.

The people were running away from the police forces while these chased them and showered them with tear gases, and live and rubber bullets.

There are reports that the police intended to shoot at the people. In the events of Luxor for instance, a number of eyewitnesses affirmed to the EOHR representative that an angry policeman was heard saying "Let me show these sons of ...", and that two persons were killed by him. In Belkas, Hamada Al-Mia'dawi was killed when a policeman shot him from a distance of less than one meter.

Finally, in spite of the many killed and the even more that were wounded by the police, there are no news that any of the perpetrators was ever tried or convicted.

List of killed and wounded in the events included in this report:

Location Killed Wounded Damarouh 59 including 9 with serious wounds Fawakhreya Not determined yet Korna 4 Scores of people including 7 with serious wounds Kafr Al-Guraya Scores of people including 9 with serious wounds Belkas 1 Scores of people Al-Hamoul Scores of people


(1) Damarouh village

Death from thirst or sickness and no objection

The events of Damarouh village, with all the painful details and the stance taken by the governmental bodies towards the simple dreams of its inhabitants, can be considered as an example of the application of the "closed doors" policy adopted by the government in dealing with the legitimate rights and demands of the people. This policy leads citizens, when they feel hopeless and helpless, to seek other ways, often violent, to express their rejection of prevalent social conditions. This could take the whole society into a new stage of violence and counter-violence, particularly in light of the persistence of the security forces to react with violence against peaceful assemblies and demonstrations, and other peaceful means of expression. The following are the findings of the mission sent by the EOHR to Damarouh village.

For many years now, the village of Damarouh, in Kafr El-Sheikh governorate, has suffered from lack of potable water. They had to rely on polluted water of which they do not know the source. They suffered doubly from this: firstly because they have to pay for this water in spite of their low levels of income and, secondly, because many of them were infected with fatal diseases as a result of drinking it.

Over those years of suffering, the inhabitants of the village tried every possible way to solve the problem. They sent dozens of complaints and petitions, and arranged direct meetings with official and elected leaders. All was in vain since all they received were promises and statements. When all peaceful means were exhausted, the villagers protested against a situation in which they have to choose either to die of thirst or of sickness. The security forces then dealt with them with unjustifiably excessive power. They arrested scores of people and referred them to the public prosecution, which ordered their imprisonment pending investigations. On the basis of unconstitutional provisions that remain since the British Occupation, they were charged with 'assembly, inciting riots, resisting the authorities, and damaging public properties.

Damarouh location and crisis

Thevillage of Damarouh is located on Km.25 off Kafr Al-Sheikh town. According to 1995 official figures, it has a population of seventy thousand but some estimations indicate that by early 1998, the population had increased to ninety thousand. For administrative purposes, the village is affiliated to the town of Sidi Salim. There are two ways to get to the village, the first is via Kafr Al-Sheikh town through a 25-kilometer road. The second through Sidi Salim, through an eight kilometer road. The main occupation in the village is fishing. In addition, there is a limited percentage of educated people who work in governmental departments. However, unemployment is high among the young men of the village.

Scarcity of drinking water is one of the chronic problems suffered by Sidi Salim town and the villages affiliated to it, including Damarouh. This is due to the fact that the town of Sidi Salim is located at the very north of Kafr Al-Sheikh governorate, at the end of the canal system and the water resources. In addition, it does not have a water-purifying plant. As the Kafr Al-Sheikh governor admitted, the problem goes back to 1980, when the National Authority for Drinking Water and Sanitary Drainage conducted a number of studies to develop and improve drinking water in Kafr Al-Sheikh governorate but left Sidi Salim out of their plans.

In spite of the many villages affiliated to Sidi Salim and its high population density, only three pipes supply these villages with clean water. These are:

The Hamoul line: it receives water from the Hamoul water station, with a capacity of 600 liter/sec. It passes through Al-Riyadh town and all the villages around it, then to the Abu-Salih bridge. It meets the other two lines at Monshait Abbas. The Mahalit Abu-Ali line: it is called the German line. It passes through all the villages of Sidi Salim town and then goes to Tanda village, the eastern villages, Monshait Abbas, ending at Damarouh village.

The third line extends from Kafr Al-Sheikh to Arimon, then Shalma, before it ramifies into many sub-lines which supply a number of villages. It meets the other two lines at Monshait Abbas.

Although the three lines intercept at Monshait Abbas -- then the Mahlit Abu-Ali line continues to the village of Damarouh -- drinking water has not reached the village since around three years ago. The residents attribute this to the fact that the village is located at the end of the Mahlit Abu-Ali line, and that this line is not sufficient to cover the needs of the villages before Damarouh. As a result, the inhabitants of these villages supply their demand by illegal means, such as installing electric pumps. This pumps finally stopped the flow of water from reaching the village of Damarouh.

Death and waste of money

Given the lack of clean drinking water in Damarouh village since about three years ago, selling water has become a common practice. To meet their needs, the people rely on the owners of vehicles equipped with tanks. They sell water to the residents at high prices, reaching PT 30-50 for one container of about 20 liters. However, people do not know the source of the water they are buying. In fact, the selling of water has spread in many villages and urban areas, including even some in Cairo itself. This practice causes problems for many reasons:

Water tanks are not cleaned regularly. Thus, they constitute a suitable environment for the growth of microbes, fungi, and parasites. It is a proven fact that the water sellers sometimes fill their tanks from any available water source, even though it may be polluted. Drivers usually fill their tanks in the night to sell it in the morning. This storage period promotes the growth of the already existing microbes.

Paying money for the water is a financial burden for the village inhabitants. Mohammed Ali Salih, a teacher, illustrates this:

I receive LE 150 as monthly salary. I pay LE 80 to buy water and LE 100 for rent! How can I live? On top of that, the water we buy is polluted, I have a liver disease because of this water, which is mixed with the sanitary drainage water. Most people boil the water before drinking it.

As seen above, the problem faced by the village is not only having to buy the water, but that the water is not fit for human consumption. There is a conviction among residents that the water they drink is behind the high rates of hepatitis, liver failure and typhoid found among them. A member of EOHR's mission who examined some of the tanks which transport the water found that they are rusty, unclean, and full of impurities and fungi inside.

What can be done?

As the problem of drinking water in Damarouh became more serious, there were many official promises and statements to solve it. Several years passed and the people kept patiently waiting and trying all peaceful and legal doors, but they found them all closed. Finally, they lost all hope that water would ever arrive to the village. When they found themselves feeling helpless and hopeless, the inhabitants resorted to other means to express their discontent and anger against the authorities for their disregard of a very basic right, that is the right to drink clean drinking water and to physical safety.

People kept asking in dismay what they could do in the face of the government's silence when they were seeing their sons becoming ill every day? This question embodies what the EOHR mission saw in Sidi Salim Public Hospital.

The hospital records of Bahbouha Abdel-Mawla and Mohammed Abu Zeid state that they died of kidney failure. They were receiving dialysis treatment twice weekly. In addition, the EOHR mission interviewed three persons who are undergoing this treatment:

Fawzi Hammada Al-Hanafi, who has been receiving dialysis three times per week since he suffered kidney failure two years ago as a result of drinking polluted water.

Taka'at Younis Abu Serag and Atif Abdel-Hameed Soliman, who have dialysis sessions twice weekly.

Hunger strike

In the morning of 25 of July 1998 and exactly at nine, about 25 people from Damarouh went to Sidi Salim Public Hospital and announced that they were starting a hunger strike in protest against the lack of clean water supply in the village and the spread of diseases. Keen to follow the legal procedure for starting a strike, they did so in the hospital and filed an official report about the strike and the reasons for it at the police station. The head of the prosecution office of Sidi Salim went to the hospital, talked to them and advised them to end their strike, and then left.

Also, the members of the Popular Council visited the strikers and advised them to end their action, giving them several promises: they would receive clean water in August, water pipes would be improved, and the water locks located in Sidi Salim would be opened from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. as a temporary solution until new water stations could operate to provide water to the two new pipes that had been established but were not functioning. The strike was ended at 5 p.m. on Sunday 26 July, after the mentioned promises and some official statements made by the Kafr Al-Sheikh governor and Sidi Salim's representative in the Parliament.

The 25 strikers belonged to different social groups but were all joined by one problem. Below are the names of twenty of them.

1Ali Hassan Shams, lawyer 11 Mahmoud Hassan Abdel-Galil, fisher man. 2Ahmed Abdel Hameed Salama, lawyer 12 Rashad Moawad Al-Sayid, driver.3 Ahmed Salih Al-Ballam, student 13. Beli Badeer Al-Sawak, driver. 4 Sami Mohammed Abu Salim, worker14 Osama Helmi Hassanein, worker. 5 Ramadan Hashim Ali, fisherman 15 Abdel-Moniem Abdel-Razzak Sayid, student. 6 Walaa Mohamed Fawzi, commercial school graduate16. Mohamed Hamdien Omar, worker. 7. Rashad Rashad Abu-Sheasha, worker 17Abu Al-Fotouh Mohamed Abu-Al Fotouh, fisherman. 8 Ahmed Al-Hanafi Mahmoud, fisherman. Abdel-Aziz Hamdi Abdel-Aziz, student. 9 Zein Mohamed Morsi, tailor 19 Commercial school certificate. 10 Sha'ban Mahrous Othman, worker. 20 Saeed Saad Saeed, fisherman.

Police Violence

In the morning of 25 July 1998, some residents of Damarouh headed to the office of the Kafr Al-Sheikh governor to submit the complaints of the village about the lack of clean drinking water and the spread of diseases. This took place simultaneously with the hunger strike mentioned above. Also numerous people gathered on the road, at Sharashra bridge, and placed an empty water tank on the middle of the road to prevent the entrance of cars into the village. At 11 a.m., a police force from the village arrived to the place where the people were gathering to disperse them and open the road, but it failed. The chief of Sidi Salim police station went to talk to the protesters, but they refused to listen to him and chanted slogans demanding clean water. The chief of police reported the events to the security directorate and asked for additional forces. A large force of ten central security, three special forces and four police vehicles were sent to the location.

At three in the afternoon, when the people saw such large force, they started throwing stones at it. A fierce clash ensued between the people and the police and the road turned battlefield. The clash lasted more than four hours during which the police fired a large amount of tear gases and rubber bullets.

In the meantime, some young men went to the bridge, set some tyres on fire and closed the road. The security forces confronted them with tear gases, rubber bullets and pellets. They were dispersed at about 7.30 p.m.

Eyewitnesses affirmed to the EOHR mission that the security forces did not shoot in the air but that they, deliberately, targeted the people, therefore increasing the number of wounded. In addition, the EOHR mission observed that the security forces overdid their use of tear gases, a fact that contradicts the instructions for their use as they are "forbidden in broad gatherings." And although the instructions add that quick aid must be provided in case of injury, it was the people themselves who had to take the wounded to private clinics or public hospitals to receive the necessary treatment.

Testimonies of the people: no excuse for police violence

Layla Mahmoud, holder of a commercial school certificate, said about the events of Damarouh:

I was with the group who went to the Governor to convey the complaint about the lack of clean drinking water in the village. On our way home disappointed, we found some oung men from the village blocking the road and preventing cars from entering it. When the MP of Sidi Salim arrived, they asked him to solve the problem to spare people the diseases that spread among them. The chief of the police station and a number of officers tried to disperse them, but in vain. He then asked for additional forces from the security directorate, which sent a large force made of central and special forces. In the clash that ensued, people threw stones and the security forces used tear gases, rubber bullets and pellets. Suffocated from the gases, I had to run until I reached a water pump. I put my head above it, I was unable to see anything before I reached home.

Another eyewitness, Mohamed Hussein Al-Masri, 20 years-old, worker, who received many bullets on the right thigh, describes the events as follows:

At about 11 am, I learnt of what was going on and went to Sharashra bridge. I was surprised to see that they were throwing tear gases at the people. Soon after, I saw bullets and pellets being fired and I received some bullets in my right thigh. The police force was very large. Some policemen equipped with protection shields were firing from behind the people. I was wounded on the thigh so some people carried me to a clinic.

Another eyewitness, Ramadan Awad Al-Sharah, student, aged 15, made his testimony to the EOHR mission in the hospital:

I was standing in front of my uncle's shop when I heard bullets, so I went to the place from where the sound was coming. I found the police throwing gases at the people and the people throwing stones at them. I was hurt on the face by a tear gas canister and lost consciousness until I woke up at the clinic. Then, I was taken to Sidi Salim Hospital to receive treatment and I am still here.

He showed a longitudinal wound on the nose and swelling of the left eye.

Another witness called Abdel-Hameed Mohammed Al-Hanafe, local council member, said to the EOHR mission:

At about 11 am, I and some young men from the village were on our way to meet the Governor to ask him to solve the problem of the water when we were surprised to see the security forces attacking the people and throwing tear gases to disperse them. In response, the people were throwing stones. So, the security forces opened heavy fire with rubber bullets and pellets, wounding a large number of them. We started carrying the wounded to private clinics to receive first aid. I also got some bullets in my arm and thigh, although we were only trying to put an end to the troubles amicably.

Nine persons were wounded by the tear gases, rubber bullets and pellets. They are:

1R0amadan Azzab, employee of Sidi Salim Court Loss of left eye from a bullet, placed in Tanta Public Hospital. 2Ahmed Sobhi Salman, fishermanReceived three pellets in left eye, placed in Tanta Public Hospital. 3 Al-Sayid Basyouni Al-Agami, driver Pellets in left eye, placed in Tanta Public Hospital. 4 Hani Gomaa Abu Al-Fotouh, 26, student Received more than 65 pellets in his leg. An X-ray shows that some splinters remain in thigh and legs; unable to bend his knee. Placed in Sid Salim Hospital. 5 Said Atteya Tawfik, 18, student Received three pellets above the right eye and in the legs, currently placed in Sidi Salim Public Hospital. 6Nazmi Abdalla Basyouni, 25, workerReceived numerous pellets in leg, thigh and testis, placed in the Sidi Salim Public Hospital. 7 Ramadan Awad Al-Sharah, 15 student Seven-centimeter cut on the nose, swelling of left eye caused by impact of a tear gas canister. Placed in Sidi Salim Public Hospital. 8 Mahmoud Abu Al-So'oud, 17, studentReceived many bullets in legs, thigh and testis, placed in Sidi Salim Public Hospital. 9 Rasha Fathi Mahmoud, 18 Pellets in several parts of her body, placed in Sidi Salim Public Hospital.

About the number of wounded in the events of Damarouh, Ali Khadr, director of Sidi Salim Public Hospital, said to the EOHR delegation that "The hospital received many cases, of which it referred three to Tanta Public Hospital because they were wounded in sensitive parts of the eyes, and our hospital took care of the rest. Wounds were scattered indiscriminately in different parts of the body such as the testis, stomach, thighs, and foreheads. Some splinters were removed after taking X-rays but others were left because they will cause no harm to the body."

A list of wounded who received first aid in private clinics:

Abdul-Razak Mohamed Abdalla, aged 24, technical school certificate, Left thigh wound. Abdu Shalabi Al-Kholi, 18, student, Right arm wound. Mostafa Mohamed Zaghloul, 13, studentRight thigh wound. Abbas Abd Al-Aziz Ahmed, 14, studentWounds in arm and forehead. Mohamed Mohamed Abdel-Aal, 22, studentRight arm wound. Mohamed Hussein Al-Mahdi, 20, workerNumerous pellet wounds in thighs. Hanafi Mohamed Hussein, 20, public health office employee, Wounds in arm and forehead. Ahmed Maghazi Al-Hanafi, 18, worker, Wounds in forehead and abdomen. Mohamed Soliman Gad-Alla, 12, student, Wounds in right arm and thighs. Waleed Al-Sayid Hashim, 24, commercial school certificateWound in left leg. Mahmoud Abu-Al-Su'oud, 17, student, Wound in forehead. Hassan Ahmed Al-Seidi, 20, worker, Wound in abdomen . Alaa Mohamed Abdel-Rasoul, 23, commercial school certificateWound in right foot. Farouk Moussa Ghazi, 21, worker, Right arm wound. Abdel-Aziz Mansour Mansour, 25, fisherman, Wounded in abdomen and left arm. Abdel-Salam Ahmed Al-Lawati, 19, worker, Wound in forehead. Al-Sayid Ali Saleh, 22, commercial school certificate, Wound in arm. Nazmi Abdalla Al-Ashmoni, 25, worker, Wound in face, above right eye. Mohamed Awad Soliman, 20, student, Wound in arm. Mohamed Mostafa Ismael, 18, student, Wound in abdomen. Atif Lotfi Al-Sa'eed, 24, worker, Wound in right foot. Mahmoud Sa'ad Ibrahim, 19, student, Wound in forehead. Nasr Sa'ad Ghazi, 20, worker, Wound in thigh and abdomen. Serag Sedki Ibrahim, 20, fisherman, Wound in thighs and right arm. Ahmed Mohamed Khattab, 18, student, Wound in abdomen. Mohamed Abdel-Maksoud Al-Hanafi, 24, worker, Wound in forehead and arms. Ragab Sa'ad Mahmoud, 23, fisherman, Wound in thighs and arms. Hisham Mohamed Al-Sayid, 17, worker, Wound in thigh and abdomen. Amr Mohamed Eid, 20, fisherman, Head wound. Mohamed Abdel-Halim Mohamed, 19, student, Wound in abdomen. Ahmed Abu Zeid Al-Hanafi, 27, farmer, Wound in forehead and abdomen. Abdel-Hameed Motwalli, 22 commercial school certificate, Wound in thighs and arms. Ahmed Al-Saeed Al-Anani, Pellets in the forehead. Mahmoud Al-Iraki Al-Sayid, Pellets in the abdomen. Mostafa Ahmed Al-Iraki, Pellets in the right arm, Tamer Abdu Merleigi, Wound in the right arm. Ramadan Awad Al-Hanafi, Wound above the left eye. Ahmed Hisham Al-Din Al-Hashmi, Wound in abdomen and thighs. Annan Abu Al-Naga Al-ShetaniWound above the eye and in the thighs. Khalid Mohamed Al-Sayid, Wound in right arm and a 5 cm wound in the right leg. Hani Fathi Al-Sa'eed, Pellets in the thighs. Adel Mahmoud Al-Iraki, Wound in thighs and right knee. Imad Hamdi Dawoud, Wound in the forehead. Mitwali Nagi Abu-Al-Wafa Wound in left arm and right foot. Ahmed Mohamed KhattabWound in the face and a cut on the right side of the face Rida Amr Al-Hanafi Wound in both arms. Saeed Adel al-Hanafi Wound in right thigh and right arm. Rasha Fathi Mahmoud Al-Hanafi Wound in the thighs and right arm.

Thus a flow of bullets and blood substituted the flow of water. The authorities viewed people's demand for clean water as a crime, as something not legitimate. Therefore, they inflicted a severe punishment on Damarouh and thus added a third option for its inhabitants: now they can die of thirst, sickness or at the hands of the police. In fact, had any of the officials listened to the complaints and tried to solve them - which is a right of the people - violence would not have erupted. Unfortunately, there was no way out.

Random arrest of people

After dispersing the protesters, a random campaign of arrests was launched against the people coming down the road from their jobs in Sidi Salim town. According to the information gathered by the EOHR mission, the police stopped scores of people and arrested all those whose identification papers proved them Damarouh residents. The police referred 54 to the Public Prosecution in charges of "assembling, resisting the authorities and rioting." The public prosecution released nine of them, and ordered three juveniles to be handed over to their families and the remaining 42 to be imprisoned for 15 days pending investigations.

Also, many others were illegally held by the police for many hours in the Damarouh police station until the village was calm again. The public prosecution also ordered the arrest of a further 28 persons to question them in relation to the riots.

Below is a list of those arrested pending investigations in connection with case no. 16233/ 71 Sidi Salim 1998.

1 Fayiz Mohamed Basyouni, 22, Abdel-Mo'ti Salama Rizk. 2 Sami Ibrahim Mahmoud, 23, Abdel-Fattah Ahmed Dahab. 3 Ibrahim Ahmed Al Yamani, 24, Hassan Mohammed Hosni. 4 Gad Ahmed Al-Yamani, 25, Salama Rizk Abdel-Haleem. 5 Hamdien Abdalla Mohamed, 26, Ragab Hassan Khalifa. 6Abdel-Haleem Farahat, 27, Radi Abdel-Razik Shet. 7 Hamid Al-Shahaat, 28, Ibrahim Bakr Abdel-Haleem. 8 Ibrahim Ibrahim, 29, Obeida Al-Azzab. 9 Fathi Ammar, 30, Rida Mos'ad Mohamed Badwi. 10 Hani Abdel-Mohsin, 31, Abbas Hassan Mohamed. 11 Fouad Mostafa Eissa, 32,Abdel-Ghani Mohamed Abd. 12 Farahat Abdu Atteya, 33, Imad Gamal Ghareeb. 13 Moussa Mohamed Ali Moussa, 34, Mahmoud Mohamed Al-Hosseini. 14 Mohamed Abdel-Ghafaar Ibrahim, 35, Abdalla Abdel-Wanees. 15 Rida Shawki Basyouni, 36, Salim Abdel-Aziz. 16 Saber Abdel-Aati, 37, Haytham Mohamed Rizk. 17 Ahmed Mohamed Abdel-Rahman, 38, Mohamed Fawzi Seif. 18 Mansour Al-Sayid Hashim, 39, Mohamed Mohamed Ali. 19 Fawzi Yousif Al-Azzabi, 40, Salim Ewais Salim. 20 Mohamed Mohamed Mos'ad 41 Yousif Fathi Yousif 21, Abdel-Maguid Yousif.


The Events of Fawakhreya, Al-Korna and Kafr Al-Geraya

One of the most important social and population problems in Egypt is that of the slums. It is an old and new problem, old in the sense that it has generated over many decades as a result of lack of planning, and of profound disparities in the development process which led to the migration of large amounts of the rural population to the major urban centers in search of a living. Hence the slums developed in the outskirts of the towns. With the constant and irregular expansion of the cities, particularly Cairo, these slums were gradually assimilated as part of the city. On the other hand, the problem of the slums is new in the sense that the mentioned disparities in planning and development still continue. The removal campaigns launched against the slums, which are now perceived as a security concern, make the situation more complicated for many reasons, mainly that:

The campaigns disregard the economic and social aspects of the problem. Thus from the point of view of the authorities, it is a problem of space and number of inhabitants. The residents of the slums are often moved in a haphazard manner. They are thus forced to stay in the already existing slums, create other slums or remain homeless.

The focus of the authorities on the security side of the slums is reflected on the methods used to force people to leave their homes, which include excessive use of power, intimidation, and punishment for those who object. To focus on the security side also means closing the doors to making complaints or to finding solutions that safeguard human rights and dignity. Finally, to focus on the security side is, in the light of the security forces' disregard of human rights, equivalent to the humiliating and ill treatment they receive at the hands of policemen.

The infringements that have accompanied the removal of slums or certain buildings have become the cause of the eruption of incidents of social violence. This fact has become clear from the three cases monitored by the EOHR in 1998. The following part of the report reviews this aspect as one of the reasons of spontaneous social violence in Egypt now.

(1) Al-Fawakhreya

Administratively Fawakhreya belongs to the Old Cairo district. Located behind the Amr Ibn Al-Aas Mosque, it is a large slum area that occupies three main sections: Al-Kolalyya, Ezzbit Abu-Karn, and Al-Fawadeen. It is well known for its pottery, which is the main occupation of about ninety per cent of its population. It is an old area that goes back three hundred years. Making pottery is an occupation passed from one generation to the next. The area use to be on the outskirts of Cairo, but with the rapid expansion of the capital, it has found itself in the heart of the city, thus acquiring a value it did not have in the times of its ancestors. In addition, the area has now historical and archeological interest.

Thus Fawakhreya became an internal slum area as a result of the urban expansion. As the area contains antiquities, the government decided to move the residents. This decision was taken several decades ago, when reasonable solutions were still possible. But as a result of the laxity of the authorities and the failure to reach a solution for the residents, the situation reached an impasse, as it occurred in other slums areas all over the country.

The first removal decision regarding the area of Fawakhreya was issued in 1963 and was not implemented. Over the next 33 years, notices of removal were sent to the residents but they were 'formal' notices never implemented. After all these years, the authorities decided to remove the area and move the people to an empty area in Doweka and Al-Katameyya. However, the people believed that these areas were not suitable, and the state did not offer them any help to populate the new areas.

The insistence on executing the removal order this time seemed due more to security considerations than to urban design concerns. The area is located in an archaeological area, thus the authorities believed that the residents must be removed urgently and without prior arrangements. This may have been a reaction to the killing of tourists in Hatshepsut Temple in Luxor. Thus, after years of laxity and lack of effective measures to transfer the people and safeguard their rights at the same time, an army of security forces arrived suddenly to knock the houses down and leave around 350 families homeless.

The language of bulldozers and violence

In his account, one of the people of the area said to the EOHR:

On 4 January 1998, at about 11 a.m., we were surprised by police vehicles, bulldozers and lorries arriving at the area. We asked an officer about the reason for their arrival and he told us that they had to implement a removal order issued by Cairo governorate to remove slum houses from the bus stop to the antiquity wall. When the bulldozer started to move to demolish the first house, the officer was hit on the head by a stone. Immediately, the security forces started to beat people with clubs. No sooner did the situation became quieter when a huge armed security force arrived and started to throw tear gases on the people.

Eyewitnesses said to the EOHR mission that the number of security vehicles was exaggerated, and that these carried hundreds of personnel of the security forces. They started throwing tear gases and beating people with bamboo clubs. The beating was strong and brutal so the people ran to the neighboring Salah Salim road and started to set tyres ablaze to disrupt the traffic. The police chased them with more tear gases, and hit them with leather belts and sticks. When the demonstrators had been dispersed, the police started a wide arrest campaign which included children and women. It was estimated that about one hundred persons were arrested, of whom some were released and 73 referred to the prosecution. They faced charges of "assembling, rioting, damaging public property, and resisting the authorities." The public prosecution ordered their imprisonment for 15 days pending investigations. On 17 January 1998, the imprisonment was renewed for a further 15 days. On 2 February, they were presented to the Chamber of Consultation, which ordered their imprisonment for a further ten days and their referral to the Old Cairo prosecution. On 27 and 28 February, the Public Prosecutor ordered the release of all the arrested.

When the police succeeded in dispersing the demonstrators and punishing the people, and after the bulldozer had demolished the houses, the place became quiet. The EOHR mission saw old people, women and children sitting by the ruins looking in sorrow to the vacuum. They were sure of one thing: that the government, which never listened to their voices, will never do.

Finally, it seems that with every demolition order, tools of demolition are accompanied by the tools for oppressing people. This was the case with Al-Fawakhreya area: when the bulldozers were sent from the governorate office, the security forces started moving from the security directorate. From the very beginning, the state assumes that any citizen is, if not already a criminal, a potential one.

The events of Fawakhreya were the beginning of the incidents of spontaneous violence that accompanied removal orders in 1998. They are expected to be the prelude of similar events in other areas of the country.

(2) Al-Korna village, Luxor

Within a period of no more than two months - from 17 November 1997 to 17 January 1998 - the people of Luxor suffered death and devastation twice. The first was when a terrorist group carried out the massacre of Hatshepsut Temple in November 1997. The second when the police intimidated and hit the people on 17 January 1998, just to implement an administrative decision. Four were killed in this event.

Al-Korna village is located on the west bank of Luxor. It includes twenty hamlets and has a population of about eighteen thousand. The area contains the majority of pharaonic tombs, and because it is located in the heart of the tourist area of Luxor, about ninety per cent of its population work in the tourist sector. The events began in Nagaa Al-Tarif, an area close to the tourist areas and one of the most densely populated with around eight thousand people, all of whom rely, directly or indirectly, on tourism to earn a living.

The area is subjected to the regulations for the protection of antiquity areas, according to Presidential Decree no. 267 of 1981. Since long ago, removal orders were issued for some of the houses of Nagaa Al-Tarif, but they were not implemented. Residents of Nagaa Al-Tarif say that a Polish archaeological mission conducted excavation works there and affirmed that it contains no antiquities. In addition, a number of governmental buildings were erected there, a fact that confirmed that the area did not include antiquities.

However, it seems that the massacre of November brought to the minds of the authorities the removal of the houses which did not comply with building regulations from a security perspective. This matter was raised anew during a visit by the head of the Supreme Council of Luxor, Gen. Sollami Saleem, to the area, when he saw the illegal buildings. He ordered their immediate demolition. On 10 January 1998, the chief of security of Luxor, Brig. Gen. Mahmoud Al-Beheri, and the head of the Utilities Police, Lieut. Col. Mahmoud Saleem, went to the village and spoke to the people about the removal of the houses and the provision of alternative ones. The people actually signed their approval to the removal.

In the morning of Saturday 17 January 1998, one week after the meeting with the residents, a police force led by the chief of Luxor police, the head of the Utilities Police, and the head of the Western district, the Korna Antiquities engineer, and the Korna Antiquities inspector went to the village. The force included fifty policemen armed with shields and sticks, in addition to one officer and three conscripts armed with automatic guns. They had two excavators, four lorries, one personnel vehicle and six trucks. As the force entered the village, between sixty to eighty people owners of the houses to be demolished gathered around and, when they saw the demolition equipment, started throwing stones at the police. They stopped in front of the vehicles and the demolition equipment to prevent their progress. In the clash, the chief of security of Luxor was wounded on the head by a stone and had to be taken by the head of the Utilities police to Al-Korna hospital. Meanwhile, an officer, a police assistant, and a conscript started to open fire in the air to stop the attacks of the people.

The situation went more tense as the news spread in the village. More people joined the gathering which reached about two hundred persons. The police officer agreed to the demand of some persons to withdraw to calm down the situation on the condition that the people stopped their attack. The force actually started to withdraw but after a few meters, the officer, the police assistant and he conscript opened fire randomly at the people for seven minutes, killing Mohamed Ahmed Radwan, aged 50, and Mohamed Ahmed Ateyya, an innocent bystander.

This action aggravated the situation and turned the village into a battlefield. When the people learnt about the death of the mentioned two, they went to Al-Korna hospital, where the chief of Luxor was being treated from a wound, and gathered in front of it. When he saw the gathering, he requested an additional force by radio. In this time, more people, mainly between the ages of 12 and 25, gathered after hearing about the incidents.

The area around the hospital was also turned into a battlefield. The angry crowd burnt a number of city council cars and some tyres. The police on its part opened fire and used tear gases randomly both inside and outside the hospital, which resulted in the killing of another two persons: Badawi Ahmed Al-Beheiri, aged 24, and Mohamed Mahmoud Ahmed, aged 38, who were standing on Ayda Bridge, three hundred meters away from the hospital. Thus the number of killed reached four, and several others were wounded, most of whom were not involved in the incidents but had just come to see what was happening after hearing the shooting. By 4.30 p.m., the police was able to control the situation after long hours of terror with a toll of four killed and seven wounded.

List of killed:

1 Mahmoud Ahmed Radwan, 50, Killed at about 12.30 p.m. while walking on the road towards Nagaa Al-Tarif, at the time the three members of the security forces opened fire with their automatic guns. 2 Mohamed Ahmed Ateyya, 29, Killed at about 1.00 p.m. on his return from work. He was incidentally walking on the road facing the clashes. He received a bullet and was already dead when he was taken to hospital. 3 Badawi Ahmed Al-Beheri, 24, Shot by a policeman around Korna Hospital. 4 Mohamed Mahmoud Ahmed, 38, Shot by a policeman at the same time as Badawi. They were standing on Ayda Bridge, opposite Korna Hospital.

The EOHR interviewed some of the wounded. Among them was Ahmed Badawi Abdel-Aal who was wounded in the left by a bullet:

On Saturday 17 January, I was at home. At about 1.30 p.m., I heard screaming and shooting and some children saying 'terrorism, terrorism'. I went out to see what was going on, I found police vehicles and lorries, and policemen running after the people and shooting. I saw my brother Ibrahim Abdel-Aal on the ground in front of our house at Nagaa Al-Sawalim, one kilometer from Korna hospital. I tried to lift him from the ground, but I received a bullet in the left leg and could not move. I was taken to the Luxor Public Hospital.

As mentioned before, most of those wounded were not involved in the events and had no relation with the houses that were to be removed. They were wounded as a result of the indiscriminate firing. In his testimony to the EOHR, Hussein Mohamed Hassan, who received a splinter in the left eye, said:

I was sitting in front of my shop on the Cairo-Aswan agricultural road, four hundred meters away from Korna Hospital. I heard shots around the hospital and saw people running towards it. I heard that some people had been killed and others were wounded, and that it was the police who had killed them. I did not know the reason. We hurried there and found police officers and policemen in black shooting with their guns. The shooting was indiscriminate and in all directions. Then, I was wounded and passed out. I was taken first to Korna Hospital and then in an ambulance to Luxor Hospital.

The eyewitnesses' accounts confirm that the method followed by the police reveals a lack of responsibility. The battle that took place around Korna Hospital was between the police armed with live ammunition and a weaponless people who panicked and tried to run away in every direction. This was asserted by the testimony of Abu Abdel-Harith, who received a bullet below the right knee:

I was at home, in Korna, when I heard shots. I thought it was a terrorist act. I hurried towards the direction of the sound to do my part as citizen, as we did during the massacre of 17 November 1997 in Luxor. Unfortunately, I found it was the security forces who were shooting randomly and continuously in every direction.

On the other hand, all eyewitnesses confirmed the reports of the wounded. An eyewitness, Hassan Ahmed Hussein, owner of a mechanic workshop located opposite to the hospital, said that: "The shooting was continuous, no warnings were made, tear gases were used inside and outside the hospital. There was a burnt excavator and three vehicles from the hospital in fire. The police then surrounded the whole town and controlled the situation."

In the meantime, the police was randomly arresting people. One of those arrested, Mohamed Ahmed Al-Sayid Ahmed, 24, said:

I was going to buy something from a shop when I saw a police car. Some policemen got out and took me to the Korna police station, where they held me for one hour before sending me to the Beida police station. I was released the next day at about one a.m. Eleven people from the village were with me.

Strikingly, according to some reports these tragic events turned from an attempt to control the situation into a personal conflict. Out of excessive zeal, one of the policemen shot a man called Adham, who was standing on the bridge, killing him on the spot. The policeman then said "Let me show these sons of ..." and shot another man, Badawi Ahmed Al-Beheiri, also standing on the bridge. However, the shooting lasted continuously from 2.30 to 4.30 p.m. The EOHR mission observed marks of bullets on the windows and wall of the hospital and on the water pipes. The window glass of the hospital office was broken.

Names of those wounded obtained from the records of the Korna and Luxor hospitals:

Ibrahim Abdel-Aal, 37, bullet in the shoulder

Mahmoud Hassan Galal, 13, bullet in the right leg

Ahmed Al-Badawi Abdel-Aal, 43, bullet in the left leg

Hussein Mahmoud Hussein, 30, fracture of the right leg

Hussein Mohammed Hassan, 29, bruise above left eyebrow

Abu Al-Haggag Abdel-Raheem Kinawi, 34, bullet in the right arm

Abu Al-Nagga Abdel-Harith Ahmed, 40, bullet in the right foot

Violent acts diversified in 1998. They broke in different places of the country. However, the events of Korna were characterized by exceptional police brutality. In addition to using tear gases, rubber sticks and clubs, live bullets were used against the demonstrators, therefore increasing the number of deaths to four. And none of them participated in the events. Ironically, this violence takes place in the heart of Upper Egypt although the government constantly calls upon the people of this area to confront terrorism!


The village of Kafr Al-Geraya is located in Zagazik governorate. It is the archetypal poor Egyptian village, where the majority of residents work in farming and the rest have modest jobs. Like other Egyptian villages, Kafr Al-Geraya lacks proper services because such small villages are usually forgotten in the government's plans. The people of this village are far from being violent. They live at a quiet pace and earning a living is their main concern. The events of Wednesday, 12 August 1998 disturbed the calm of Kafr Al-Geraya. It caused its people to relinquish their peaceful attitude and voice their protest against he police practices. What made them react was the orders to remove three kiosks and a coffee shop made of adobe. The following is the story as reported by the EOHR mission.

On the side of the Bahr Moes canal which passes through the village some poor people erected three kiosks and a coffee shop made of adobe. They also built a mosque and a nursery above it. The land used for these buildings belongs to the irrigation directorate of the governorate and is supervised by its staff and engineers. According to the information received by the EOHR mission, the owners of the three kiosks and the coffee shop had reached some agreement with the responsible engineer to let them have their buildings in return for a sum of money. Both parties agreed to this and the situation was settled for a long time, during which no problem arose, until a disagreement broke between the engineer and the kiosks owners. Accordingly, the engineer ordered their removal.

Without giving any notice to the owners of the kiosks and the coffee shop, removal orders number 11, 12, 13 and 14 of 1998 were issued on the ground that the buildings did not conform to the regulations. The people learnt about these orders only when they were being executed. They were strongly shocked by the violent and provocative manner of the police.

Shock, provocation and violence

At about twelve noon on Wednesday, 12 August, a police car, a bulldozer, and a car with some officials from the irrigation directorate arrived in front of the kiosks and the coffee shop to be removed. As there had been no previous notice about the arrival of the force, some people gathered around without knowing what was going on or what would happen. Few minutes later, another police car arrived followed by eight central security vehicles full of conscripts armed with tear gases, fire weapons and bamboo clubs. People were shocked as nobody could imagine that the removal of three kiosks and a coffee shop made of adobe would require such an army. There was a state of fear and confusion. The situation seemed very simple when the owners of the kiosks and coffee were informed of the removal orders. They complied with them and asked for a period to collect their things.

It must be noted that eyewitnesses interviewed by the EOHR mission generally agreed that the situation should have been very easy because the owners of the kiosks complied immediately with the orders, but a police officer provoked the people by throwing the contents of one of these kiosks in the canal. The people hence felt that they were being treated in a humiliating manner and started throwing stones at the security forces. The reaction of the police was, as usual, very quick and violent. They used tear gases, rubber bullets and pellets, wounding many people. As a result of the random shooting, there were many wounded in the eyes. The security forces kept throwing tear gases without any consideration for the children that were in the nursery close to the kiosks. This caused panic among the parents, who were afraid for the safety of their children, the majority of which were between the ages of three and five.

Severe wounds and fear from treatment

The events of Kafr Al-Geraya proved that the police continues to disregard the rules for the use of fire weapons. Without prior notice, the random shooting of tear gases, rubber bullets and pellets continued for three hours. The number of wounded reached about two hundred. In addition, the wounds were serious and many of them were in the eyes, in such manner that would make it seem that the police targeted the eyes. With respect to those wounded, there were two striking facts:

First: That most of them were not involved in the events. Some were heading to the nursery to take their children. Such was the case with Abdalla Al-Hossein Hamid, who was going to the nursery to collect his nephews. He lost an eye. Others were visiting some relative in the village and knew nothing about what was happening.

Second: That most of the wounded did not dare go to the government hospital or clinic for fear of being arrested or punished. They preferred to stay in their homes or go to private clinics. Those with serious wounds were taken to Zagazik University Hospital or Kasr Al-Aini University Hospital in Cairo.

List of wounded who were taken to Zagazik or Kasr Al-Aini hospitals:

Name, Age, Occupation, Wound. Abdalla Hussein Hamid, 23, furniture painter, Eye wound caused by a rubber bullet. Taken to Kasr Al-Aini Hospital. Mohamed Nagui Ateyya, 18, Agricultural laborer, Eye wounds by rubber bullets and pellets. Zagazik Hospital. Mohamed Al-Sayid Sallam, 30, Butcher, Left eye wound by pellets. Zagazik Hospital. Mohamed Al-Sayid Abdel-Hadi, 24, Agricultural laborer, Eye wound by rubber bullets. Kasr Al-Aini Hospital. Al-Sayid Abdalla Al-Anshasi, 18, Agricultural laborer, Eye wound by rubber bullet. Zagazik HospitalAl-Sayid Abdel-Salam Al-Sayid, 15, Student, Wounds in eye, head and other parts of the body. Alaa Abdel-Galil Al-Sayid , 25, Public employee, Splinters in the legs. Nabila Mohamed Deyab, 38, Housewife, Wound in the face. Mohamed Ibrahim Matar, 25, Public employee, Splinters in the legs. In addiction, about 15 men from the security forces received superficial wounds as a result of the stones thrown by the people. Thus, the arrogant behavior of a police officer had brought an outburst of violence in an otherwise peaceful village. However, the clash ended and the security forces were stationed in the village for two days.

Random arrest campaign

The attack on the people by the security forces lasted three continuous hours. These launched a campaign of random arrests against those who were in the place of the events. Some were taken from their homes. It was even said that a man was arrested while performing his prayers. Around fifty people, including fifteen women, were arrested. Some of them were released and twenty were referred to the Public Prosecution Department, where they were charged with resisting the authorities and inciting riots. The Public Prosecution ordered their imprisonment for 15 days pending investigations. On 25 August, their imprisonment was renewed for a further 15 days and they were taken to Zagazik General Prison.

List of those imprisoned for 15 days pending investigations (all of them are residents of Kafr al-Geraya, Zagazik, Sharkeyya):

Name, Age, Occupation. Al-Sayid Mohamed Al-Shahhat, 34, Worker. Farouk Mohamed Abdel-Kader, 34, Completed technical school, unemployed. Ali Mahrous Mohamed, 40, Agricultural laborer. Khalid Waguih Abdu, 17, Barber. Waleed Abdu Gomma, 14, Student, placed in juvenile care. Hani Farouk Omar, 25, Agricultural laborer. Abdu Farouk Omar, 35, Agricultural laborer. Ahmed Mohamed Sewailam, 32, Volunteer in the armed forces, handed over to the military police. Ateya Abdu Mohamed, 22, Carpenter, Hamza Mohamed Abdel-Hadi, 40, Supervisor in the agricultural cooperative . Al-Sayid Shaker Mohamed, 18, Agricultural laborer. Al-Sayid Ahmed Mohamed Salim, 25, Agricultural laborer. Hussein Mohamed Mustafa, 35, Tailor.

Names of the rest of detained/accused people (they are residents of the villages of Banatif, Al-Kholwa, and Al-Arba'een, Zagazik governorate, Sharkeyya):

Names, Age, Occupation. Mohamed Afifi Mahmoud, 22, Student. Al-Sayid Ghonemi Mahmoud, 28, Worker. Mohamed Al-Sayid Hashim, 30, Agricultural laborer. Mohamed Ali Badawih, 32, Agricultural laborer. Khalid Abdel-Aleem Ratib, 20, Student. Ahmed Al-Sayid Al-Shafa'i, 18, Student. Al-Sayid Saeed Zaki, 35, Agricultural laborer.

Disturbing facts and legitimate fears

The events included in this part of the report are certainly disturbing for a number of factors. Firstly, a small number of removal orders result in several deaths and many wounded.

Secondly, and more disturbingly, the statistics available indicate that the size and gravity of the problem of the slums in Egypt is disproportionate to the reckless manner adopted by the government and the security forces in dealing with them. The number of slum areas according to some estimates has reached 1034, of which in 81 cases removal is recommended while the remaining 953 should be developed.

The third factor relates to the population of these slums, which has reached according to some estimates about 12.6 million, i.e. 46% of the total urban population of Egypt. In Cairo alone, slums cover 24.3% of the inhabitant areas and contain a population of 54.6% of the total population of Cairo*.

Based on these disturbing facts, one can imagine the extent to which the circle of violence may expand if the executive and security bodies continue the policies adopted in Al-Fawakhreya, Al-Korna, and Kafr Al-Geraya. Will slum areas be a constant source of conflict between police and citizens? This question is raised out of fear. The problem is huge, and the government insists to close its doors. Moreover, it insists on giving the security forces the role of mediator between itself and the people.


The incidents of Belkas and Al-Hamoul

In 1998, Al-Dakahlyya governorate witnessed the death of two citizens in its police stations. The first was Wahid Al-Sayid Ahmed Abdalla, who died in the police station of Belkas. The second was Sameer Ramadan Hassan Al-Sherbini, who died in Al-Hamoul police station in circumstances shrouded in uncertainty. In both cases, feelings of unfair treatment were the reason behind the spontaneous violence. People gathered to demand punishment for the perpetrators, but they were the ones punished by the police.

The following part of the report gives details of both incidents and asserts that the continuos ill-treatment and killing of people by the security forces open the door to popular anger and constitute a flagrant threat to social peace and security, as well as a blatant violation of all human rights principles.

(1) The Belkas Tragedy

The events witnessed by the town of Belkas, Dakahleya, on Thursday 9 April 1998, are another instance of people's anger at the violations committed by the police and closing of all doors to justice. The death of Wahid Al-Sayid Ahmed Abdalla as a result of torture in Belkas police station was not the direct reason which ignited the anger. It was the attempts of the police to close the door in front of his family, who carrying the death body demanded the punishment of the perpetrators. All they received was more insults, more humiliation and ill-treatment, which resulted in another death. The closed doors were the direct reason for the break of spontaneous violence in Belkas.

The beginning

Over the past three years, the people of Belkas have been complaining of the ill-treatment they are subjected to in the police station. According to these complaints, it seemed that the policy of the officers and detectives of the Belkas police station was to consider that anyone who entered the station must be guilty, and that he would not speak unless forced to. Therefore, torture in Belkas police station was a common practice. Officer Ihab Shabana, head of the investigation section, who seemed to have a special knack in ill-treating people to extract a confession from them, became a 'professional' of torture, and made a profession of its practice. It appears that Wahid Al-Sayid was not his first victim, but the circumstances made him the last.

The events that killed Wahid started at about 2 a.m. on Thursday 9 April 1998, when officer Ihab and another four detectives arrested Wahid on the claim that he was involved in a theft. He was held on the second floor of the Belkas investigation building. Very calm, the professional officer sat at his desk and in few words ordered the detectives to torture Wahid to force him to give information about the location of the stolen objects. The detectives tied the hands and legs of the victim, beat him with whips, sticks and the butts of the guns. Meanwhile, the officer sat indifferent and bored at a scene seen many times before. He issued orders to give the victim electric shocks in nipples, ears, and penis. They kept doing so and whenever Wahid passed out, they poured cold water on his face to make him regain consciousness and then continued the procedure until he died. As coldly as they could, they took the body in a police car, and in the dark of the night, they threw it on his bed and ran away. The victim's mother said to the EOHR: "The police car came again, some detectives got out carrying Wahid and put him on the bed, they said that he had passed out and left quickly. But I saw his eyes and mouth open, and the signs of torture on his body."


The only eyewitness of the torture, who was also accused for the same theft, said to the EOHR:

At 2 a.m. on Thursday, Wahid was arrested and placed in the room with me. They gave him electric shocks in the nipples, penis, ears, tongue, and abdomen. Whenever he passed out, they would pour water on his face until he recovered and start again. This lasted over two and a half hours. I was tortured in the same manner but not as cruelly as Wahid because I confessed what they wanted. But Wahid did not, so they kept torturing him all that time.

He added that "Wahid's hands and legs were tied, and a detective put his leg on Wahid's chest to prevent him from moving. He was also kicked on the head and stomach." The EOHR representative observed sings of torture in various parts of the body of the witness: feet, nails, abdomen, and chest. It must be noted that the attorney general ordered the release of the witness to alleviate the tension in the town, but he was threatened with being re-detained if he spoke about what he had seen during his detention.

The vulnerable knock at the closed doors

The family and neighbours of Wahid tried to revive him, but in vain. His body was absolutely cold. In an attempt to knock at the first door, they called an ambulance thinking that they could save Wahid. The ambulance refused to carry him and informed them that he was dead. Surprised and distressed, they carried the body on a cart back to the Belkas police station. They knocked the door of the station chief, Brigade Ibrahim Abdel-Samee'. It would look as they had knocked the doors of hell. The chief insulted them, kicked the body and refused to receive it or make a report on the event. Extremely insulted, the people left the body in front of the station and sought other doors. They went to the Belkas Prosecution Office, but found no one as it was early in the morning. They went to the Mansoura Prosecution Office, but no one listened to them. They went back to Belkas police station to find that the police chief had requested additional security forces. Arrested and detained in the station, they were beaten and threatened. Among the detained were the victim's mother, grandmother, aunts, cousins, and a number of neighbours.

However, the police chief finally found no other way but to write a memorandum on the death of Wahid, and to inform the Belkas Public Prosecution of the event. Under strict protection and without telling the family, the Prosecution examined the body. Finding signs of torture, it ordered an autopsy by a forensic doctor. The Prosecution members took samples from the body and then ordered its burial.

Siege on the town

In the afternoon of the same day, and after the arrival of the additional security forces, the police buried the corpse amidst tough security. On the other hand, the people gathered asking that the responsible officer be brought to justice. They toured the town streets to express their protest, refusal and denunciation of the police practices. In response, the police replied with violence. They shot rubber bullets from a very short distance, allegedly two meters, and tear gases which set fire to some roofs. The violence escalated when an officer shot pellets at Al-Sayid Al-Mia'dawi, 34. He was wounded in the neck and face and taken to the emergency hospital of Mansoura, where he died two hours after. According to testimonies received by the EOHR and the forensic report, he died as a result of the wounds caused by being shot from a distance of less than one meter. The security forces deliberately did not take him to hospital immediately, and even prevented the people to get near him, which caused his death.

In response, the people started throwing stones at the police. They expressed their anger by attacking public buildings such as the post office, the telephone central, the Belkas Court of Justice, the City Council, the Sugar Company, the rice-hulling facility, and the Belkas Public Hospital. They set tyres in fire and erected barricades in public squares and streets. The damages were estimated at about LE 55,000.

These confrontations resulted in the wounding of many residents, central security men, and four police officers who were taken to the Belkas Public Hospital. The streets of Belkas were full of armored vehicles and men from the central security. The police arrested 36 people at random, including some under age.

Although the Ministry of Interior ordered the suspension of officer Ihab Shabana and referred him to administrative questioning, he is free now. The problem of the law and of the painful reality must be raised here. The law, as it will be explained later, contains many weak points that prevent the punishment of the perpetrator when this is a member of the police. Also, if a policeman is referred to court, he will receive a lenient punishment.

The reality is revealed in EOHR's press releases and reports( on torture and ill-treatment of citizens in police stations. These reports reveal that the majority of policemen belong to the type of the Belkas officer. They exist in all police stations all over the country.

As long as torture continues, violence too will continue. This was the case in Hamoul town, Kafr Al-Sheikh governorate, following the death of a person in the Hamoul police station.

(2) Death in the Hamoul police station

Sameer Ramadan Al-Sherbini worked as electrician at the Electricity Authority. He lived until the age of 52 in a poor village called Al-Nefla, Al-Hamoul, Kafr Al-Sheikh governorate. As most Egyptians, he got married and had four children. He might have heard that the police torture people, but he certainly would not have imagined that one day he would go to the police on foot and get out a dead body. This is another sad story from the records of the police.

The beginning

The story started on Thursday 20 August 1998, when a dispute arose between Hossam Sameer Ramadan (aged 19, holder of a technical school certificate) and one of his neighbours in Al-Nafla because Hossam had built a wall between their two houses. The neighbours hence made an official report to the police about the disagreement. Upon this report, Hossam was arrested and referred to the Public Prosecutor, which ordered his release.

To this point, things were normal but some developments took place. Hossan was not released but instead, he was kept in detention at the police station. Major Mohamed Khalil had ordered his detention. This officer had been delegated for one week to the police station, and his original position was that of inspector in the criminal section of Kafr Al-Sheikh Security Directorate. However, he seems to have wanted to leave his 'fingerprint' in the station. He ordered the mentioned person to be brought to his office, insulted him, beat him on the face and chest. Then, he ordered his detention once again.

Meanwhile, Sameer Ramadan Hassan, Hossam's father, who was asking about his son in the police station, saw him on his way to the detention room. He learnt that his son has been referred to the Public Prosecution and that this had ordered his release, and that it was the officer who had re-detained him. The father then decided to stay in the police station to know what fate awaited his son. The mentioned officer summoned the father. An argument took place between them after which the officer ordered the father's detention in the investigation unit. By then, it was 11.30 p.m.

Thus the son, who had received a release order by the public prosecution, and the father, who went to enquire about him and got arrested, were held in two separate rooms in the police station. An obscure and grim night passed when, according to Hossam's testimony to the EOHR representative, at around four in the morning of the next day, 21 August, he learnt that his father was held in the investigation unit. To his surprise, he was told that his father was accused in seven lawsuits, and that he had actually received various sentences of fine imprisonment. The night passed and no one knew any news about the father. In the morning, an ambulance car left Al-Hamoul police station towards Al-Hamoul hospital carrying the body of Sameer Ramadan, the father. The son was told that his father had died as a result of a sudden heart attack!

At the house of the deceased, the family was waiting for him knowing nothing about his fate since he had gone to the station to ask about his son. In the morning, several detectives were dispatched to a cousin of the deceased. They took him to the station and held him for four hours during which he was asked many questions about his relation to the deceased and to other people. He became suspicious and felt that something unusual was going on. At about two thirty in the afternoon, the officer informed him of the death of his cousin Sameer Ramadan Al-Sherbini as a result of cardiac arrest. He added that the body was in the Hamoul hospital and that he had to take it. Immediately, he, along with the son of the deceased, whom the officer decided suddenly to release, went to the hospital convinced that the father had really died. However, the cold body in the hospital morgue had visible marks on it, which increased their doubts about the cause of death. Therefore, they refused to take it and filed a report to the Public Prosecution.

The EOHR representative learnt from a member of the security forces in the Hamoul police station that the death took place at about two thirty at the dawn of Friday, i.e. four hours after his arrest. For more details, the representative interviewed the family of the deceased: his son, cousin, wife and other s .

Abdel-Hakeem Halmi Al-Sherbini, the cousin

At about ten in the morning of Friday, 21 August 1998, some detectives came and asked me to go to the police station. I went with them, the officer kept asking me about my relation with my cousin Sameer, and whether there were any problems between us, or between him and any other person in the town, and many other questions. I denied any problems and felt that something strange must be going on. I remained there over three hours and at about two in the afternoon, the officer told me that my cousin had died in the station as a result of a cardiac arrest, and that the body was at Al-Hamoul hospital. I hurried there in a state of shock, and I was accompanied by his son Hossam. We entered the morgue and saw Sameer's body. There were red and blue signs behind and around his ears, bruises on the neck and armpits. I realized immediately that the death was not natural. I decided to file a report to the Public Prosecution and demanded an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

In response to a question by the EOHR representative about the validity of the seven suits in which the deceased was accused, the cousin answered: "Is it reasonable that a person who has pending imprisonment sentences would go to the police station in person?

Hossam Sameer Ramadan, son of the deceased

I was detained in the station over some disagreement. When I was presented to the Public Prosecution, this ordered my release but I was, nevertheless, kept in detention.The officer of the station, Mohamed Khalil, summoned me. As soon as he saw me, he hit me in the chest and face for no reason. He ordered the detectives to take me to the jail. On my way there, I saw my father and he told me that the officer had summoned him to the station. I told him that the Public Prosecution had ordered my release, but that the officer had kept me. Later, I learnt that my father was detained in the investigation unit. At about four in the morning, I was told that my father was involved in seven suits and that there were imprisonment and fine sentences against him. Afterwards, another officer summoned me and told me the they had discovered my father's death in the morning and that he had died of a cardiac arrest. When I went with my cousin to see the body, we noticed marks in the cheeks, ears and armpits. We therefore refused to receive the body.

The victim's wife

She said to the EOHR representative in a state of shock that: At about eight o clock on Thursday, I was at home with my husband and our children except for Hossam, who was detained in the police station. My husband Sameer left us and went to the station to ask about him, but never came back and will never do.

Anger sweeps the town

The refusal to receive the body was the first expression of protest by the people who gathered in front of Al-Hamoul hospital waiting for the forensic report to say its word. The doubts of the people increased with the arrival, in the morning, of 25 central security vehicles, 12 police vehicles, and two armored vehicles which stationed in the main street, in front of the police station, and at the town's entrance. There was an implicit feeling that the existence of such forces would mean the lost of all rights and the shutting of doors and mouths. Thus, the town turned into quasi-military barrack in which apprehension prevailed.

At about nine in the evening on Friday, the people gathered in front of Al-Hamoul station started whispering that Sameer had not died of cardiac arrest, and that officer Mohamed Khalil was responsible for his death, especially given the unnatural marks found on the body. The whispering turned into action and more tension. The people went to the city council of Al-Hamoul and threw stones at it. They set fire to the car of Shura Council member, Fawzi Al-Rifa'i, who is at the same time a big contractor in the town. The people also smashed two cars in front of the city council. Then, they went to the town center, where a fire-fighting vehicle was passing. They stopped it and turned it on one side. Two hundred meters after, they met another fire-fighting vehicle, stoned it and set it on fire. A few minutes later, the security forces, which had been stationed since the morning in the town, arrived. A strong confrontation took place between the angry people and the security forces, which made extensive use of tear gases and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. The town of Al-Hamoul lived a stormy night as the confrontation lasted until the early hours of Saturday morning. During this period and until around the middle of Saturday, the police intensified the number of arrests until these reached 43 including seven minors.

In spite of this unrest, the police buried the body of Sameer early on Saturday morning amidst strict security measures. Only three members of his family attended the burial ceremony. Among them was his son Hossam, who was still detained. The son said: "The officer summoned me at dawn on Saturday. I was in a state of shock but he forced me to attend the burial. I went with them and found no one from my family. They buried him and left, but I remained beside his tomb until the sun rose, then I went home."

Quietness then prevailed in the town, but the security forces remained stationed in the main street, and in front of Al-Hamoul hospital, the police station and the City Council for fear of further unrest. In the evening of Saturday, those arrested were referred to the Public Prosecution, which handed over the seven minors to their parents and charged 36 with inciting riots, resisting the authorities and damaging public property.


First: Main aspects of the spontaneous social violence

The phenomenon of spontaneous social violence, of which we have reviewed some of its manifestations in the present report, reflects a serious deficiency in the relation between people and the authorities. From a human rights perspective, such deficiency generates a number of violations of the economic, social, civil and political rights of the poorer groups. The report concludes that this type of social violence is characterized by the following:

First: The perpetrators of that type of violence are simple farmers, low-skilled workers, poor inhabitants of the cities, or low-ranking civil servants.

Second: The acts of violence take place as a reaction to blatant violations and provocative actions by members of the security forces or the administration. They are never initiated by the people themselves, who are often far from being violent. In all the cases monitored by the EOHR, the people involved were simple and poor people whose main concern is how to obtain their daily sustenance.

Third: Violence seems to be the last resort when all ways to express their needs and demands are closed.

Fourth: The reaction of the security forces, which includes the intensive use of fire weapons and tear gases, and random arrest campaigns, is always more violent and out of proportion to the incidents.

Fifth: There is a double standard in the way the authority deals with these events. It punishes and brings charges against those it accuses of provoking the violence, although their worst crime is to throw stones to demand or defend their lost rights or in their own defense. At the same time, it gives policemen the right to use fire weapons and tear gases against citizens, killing and wounding them, intimidating the old and the young, arresting any person at random, without any condemnation or punishment.

Six: Showing some respect and concern for people's interests would have been enough to avoid any acts of violence. If the concerned authorities had extended the supply of drinking water to the village of Damarouh, it is certain that violence would not have taken place. The authorities' respect of the right of the people of Al-Fawakhreya and Al-Korna to housing would have led to the respect of the citizens of those villages for the executive and the state. Similarly, if the police had respected the citizens of Belkas and Al-Hamoul and had not violated their dignity, or if the responsible officers had been questioned and brought to justice, these two cities would not have witnessed any violence. Only simple and legitimate solutions will prevent the occurrence of violence or social unrest.

Second: Recommendations

The EOHR believes that putting an end to violence, which grows more tense every day, requires real will to correct the existing unbalance between the authority, with its administrative and security apparatuses on the one hand, and the people on the other. The following recommendations are based on two main facts that cannot be ignored. First, that the only way to correct this deficiency is to apply the human rights principles stated in international human rights standards ratified by Egypt. Second: that observing these principles requires an awareness that human rights are integrated rights, and that there is no separation between civil and political rights, and economic and social rights. Therefore, the EOHR makes the following recommendations to the competent Egyptian authorities:

To commit to the principles of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and to take the necessary legislative and practical measures to put these rights into effect, mainly the right to housing, health, a decent standard of living, association, and all other economic and social rights.

To put into effect the democratic rules, lift the restrictions imposed on political parties in Egypt and make them free to carry out their various activities, hold conferences and establish contact with the people; and to lift all the restrictions imposed on the right to political participation, which would activate the forces of civil society and allow them to participate in the decision-making process both on the local and national levels.

To clear the legal system of all its shortcomings to make it conform with the provisions of the Constitution and the international human rights standards ratified by Egypt.

To lift all restrictions imposed on the right of strike and to peaceful assembly.

To put an end to the torture and ill-treatment of citizens in police stations, and to create a mechanism for constant supervision that would include judges, lawyers and doctors, who would examine all allegations of torture that take place in places of detention.

To amend article 63 of the Criminal Procedure Code to give victims of torture the right to bring a direct suit with respect to the crimes of torture committed by members of the police; and to introduce a new article to the Code that would allow those accused to seek the presence of a lawyer during questioning by the law enforcement officers in the police stations.

To pass a new law to introduce the system of the judicial police, provided that it is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice, which would be responsible for the judicial police and for guaranteeing the sound application of justice and the implementation of rulings.

To sign the provisions included in articles 21 and 22 of the Convention Against Torture, which allow the United Nations Committee Against torture to consider complaints from states or individuals about governmental violations of the commitments stipulated in the Convention.

To put an end to the practice of collective punishment practiced by the police, as it is a blatant violation of the stipulations of the Constitution, the law, and international human rights standards ratified by Egypt.

To review the relationship between police and citizens. This would necessitate training policemen, particularly those working in criminal investigations, and raising their awareness of human rights principles. The training should include the treatment of detainees in police stations a way that preserves their dignity and respects their fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and international human rights standards ratified by Egypt. Human rights should be integrated in the curricula of the Police Academy and of all other schools and institutes where policemen are professionally prepared.

( Refer to "Laws restricting civil and political rights in the Egyptian legislation" by Abdalla Khalil, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, first edition 1993.

* Dr. Ali Al-Sawi's "Slums and Models of Development", published in Arabic by The Center for Developing Countries Studies, Cairo University, 1996.

( Please refer to EOHR report: Torture in Egypt, "In Defence of Human Rights 1988-1993", volume I; Citizens Without Protection, "In Defence of Human Rights", volume II; Torture in Police Stations Must Be Stopped, third EOHR report on torture and ill-treatment in police stations, "In Defence of Human Rights", volume IV, 1997; The Belkas Tragedy, Torture in Police Stations, 1998.)

No Way Out
Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, 1998,

Preparation and drafting:
Yousry Moustafa Abdel-Meguid

Mahmoud Kandil
Gamal Barakat
Reda Abdel Aziz
EOHR Local Commitees in Belkas and Qena

Soheir Sabri

English editing:
Ana Martinez

Other EOHR Reports
EOHR || Human Rights in Egypt

Derechos HR
This document is published online by Derechos Human Rights. Derechos works against violations to human rights and humanitarian law all over the world.