Egypt military accused of using banned chemical warfare agents against protesters

Al-Masry Al-Youm reports: The Euromediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) on Monday condemned the targeting of peaceful protesters in Cairo with internationally banned gases. The Geneva-based group said it was rallying an international condemnation against these violations. The EMHRN strongly condemned the targeting of peaceful protestors by the police and the armed forces as well as the use of excessive violence against them, leading to dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries.

In a statement on Monday, the EMHRN said the use of tear gas, live ammunition and snipers to disperse a peaceful sit-in was “unacceptable and fully against all international norms and conventions.” EMHRN Regional Director Amany al-Sinwar said that testimonies by several Egyptian activists described the use of an internationally banned gas known as CR gas by security forces and the armed forces. She added that the EMHRN received similar testimonies of vomiting, paralysis and temporary loss of vision after exposure to the gas. Sinwar added that the EMHRN documented the use of this gas against protestors for the first time since the escalation of the peaceful uprising on 25 January.

The EMHRN denounced this “serious violation against civilians by using internationally banned gas, which is classified as a being a carcinogenic and of being deadly when exposed to it for long periods of time.”

The 1993 Paris Convention on chemical warfare criminalized the use of such gases. The 1907 Hague Convention also prohibited the use of toxic warfare that results in torture, while the 1925 Geneva Protocol prohibits the use of asphyxiating and poisonous gases.

The EMHRN called on the leadership of Egypt’s police force and that of the Egyptian army to “immediately stop targeting civilians, and respect their right to peaceful sit-ins, while punishing those responsible for the crimes committed against them.”

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