Rabaa victims 'shot from behind': Egypt watchdog

The council showed footage of bodies being burned inside the tent city and the fatal shooting of the daughter of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed al-Beltagi

The council showed footage of bodies being burned inside the tent city and the fatal shooting of the daughter of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed al-Beltagi

CAIRO – Egypt's state-run rights watchdog has said that most fatalities from last summer's violent dispersal of a major protest camp by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya Square had been caused by "gunshots" and that almost one quarter of the victims had been "shot from behind."

At a Monday press conference, the state-run National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) said that a total of 632 protesters had been killed when security forces forcibly dispersed their Cairo sit-in in mid-August of last year.

Nearly 88 percent of the fatalities from the day-long security operation were caused by gunshot wounds, while 24 percent of the victims were shot from behind, according to the NCHR.

NCHR Chairman Mohamed Fayek said that 1492 people had been injured in the dispersal while some 800 others had been arrested by security forces.

At Monday's press conference, the council showed footage of bodies being burned inside the tent city and the fatal shooting of the daughter of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed al-Beltagi.

The NCHR also showed footage of demonstrators being assaulted by security forces while in detention, along with recorded testimony from civilians who claimed to have been tortured by demonstrators inside the sit-in.

"The sit-in was dispersed in response to popular pressure," NCHR member Nasser Amin asserted.

According to Amin, no military personnel participated in the sit-in dispersal.

"The camp was dispersed by police; army troops were only responsible for securing the premises," he said.

The dispersal came a few weeks after Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president, was removed by the army following demonstrations against his one year in office.

The Egyptian government then launched a sweeping, sustained crackdown on his supporters, of which the Rabaa dispersal was seen as a turning point.

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