Rabaa survivors: ‘Sisi responsible for one of 21st century’s deadliest atrocities’

Survivors of the 2013 Rabaa massacre in Egyptian capital Cairo have slammed Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi as “the man behind one of the deadliest atrocities of the 21st century” and called for a UN investigation into the killings.

In a joint statement, former Egyptian Minister of Investment Yehia Hamed and former Minister of Planning, Amr Darrag, argued that “six years after the deadly crackdown that saw 800 arrested and over 1,000 killed, we still have no justice or accountability for those who orchestrated the deadliest day in modern Egyptian history”.

Today marks the sixth anniversary of the Rabaa massacre, during which the Egyptian army – led by then-General Al-Sisi – stormed a sit-in in the Cairo square and slaughtered over 1,000 people protesting against the removal of the country’s first democratically-elected President, Mohamed Morsi.

Protesters were shot, burned alive and suffocated with tear gas in what Hamed and Darrag today labelled “a planned and orchestrated attack”. “The regime chose to broadcast the attack live. They chose to target peaceful protesters loyal to President Mohamed Morsi and democracy for political gain”.

“They were fully aware of what the consequences of their actions would be,” their statement added.

READ: Husband and son in prison. Daughter shot in Rabaa. Asmaa Beltagi’s mum speaks on the massacre

The ministers, who served under the late President Morsi and were in Rabaa Square when the massacre was carried out, continued:

Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi was the man behind one of the deadliest atrocities of the 21st century. No one has been held accountable. No one has been brought to justice. We hope one day the international community will speak out for the people of Egypt and condemn the actions of this violent dictator.

Hamed and Darrag also highlighted the irony of the fact that, just today, it emerged that Al-Sisi will host an UN-backed conference on torture in the Middle East in September. Organised by the UN’s regional human rights agency and the Egyptian government’s own human rights body, the conference will include government representatives from across the Arab world, as well as NGOs and media professionals.

The announcement of the conference on the anniversary of the Rabaa massacre, and at a time when the Sisi government continues to crack down on the country’s minorities and subjects its prisoners to dire detention conditions, will likely be seen as an insult to the memory of those who died in the 2013 bloodbath.

“We call on the United Nations Human Rights Council to declare 14th of August ‘International Day for the Victims of Mass Killings’, the statement concluded, “and immediately launch an international investigation into the Rabaa Massacre”.

READ: The names and faces of the 21 women killed in Egypt’s Rabaa