Kenneth Roth writes: Some combination of denial and fear led the Egyptian government to refuse my colleague and me entrance to the country on Sunday night. The form wrapped around my colleague’s passport describing why we were being denied entry was checked, “For security reasons.”
It was an unprecedented step. No one from Human Rights Watch had ever been barred from Egypt, even during the darkest days of former President Hosni Mubarak’s rule. But the reason for my visit was also unprecedented — a massacre that rivals the most notorious of recent times, such as China’s Tiananmen killings in 1989 and Uzbekistan’s Andijan slaughter in 2005.
I went to Cairo to present the results of a detailed investigation that Human Rights Watch had conducted into last year’s massacre by Egyptian security forces of protesters at a large sit-in demonstration in Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya Square, which was organized to oppose the military’s ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first elected civilian president. In one day — indeed, in some 12 hours — security forces killed at least 817 people, each of whom has been individually identified by Human Rights Watch, and quite likely more than 1,000. The slaughter was so systematic that it probably amounts to a crime against humanity under international law. [Continue reading…]