In an important development towards restitution for two of the martyrs of the January 25 Revolution, the State Commissioners Authority issued its two reports in the two cases filed by lawyers at the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR). The Commissioners recommended the admissibility of the appeal regarding the negative decision to deny Ahmed Sayyid Metwalli and Mohammed al-Shafei registration as martyrs of the Revolution.
ECESR lawyers had filed lawsuit No.45977 of Judicial Year 67 on behalf of the father of martyr Ahmed Sayyid Metwalli and lawsuit No.36384 of Judicial Year 67 on behalf of martyr Mohammed al-Shafei’s mother. The legal proceeding named as defendants the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the Interior Minister, and the Secretary General of the National Council for Care of the Revolution Martyrs’ Families and Wounded, each in their capacity. They appealed the negative decision to not include the names of the two men as martyrs of the January 25 Revolution and consequently depriving their families of the moral and material redress guaranteed by the state for the martyrs of the Revolution.
Ahmed Sayyid Metwalli was martyred after being hit by two bullets fired by policemen, who used excessive violence in dispersing a demonstration outside the Suez Security Directory. The was following the events related to the assault of al-Ahli club supporters in Port Said stadium on February 4, 2012.
Mohammed al-Shafei was martyred in January 2013, after suffering injuries throughout his body due to torture following his kidnapping during his participation in the commemoration of the Revolution’s second year in Tahrir Square.
The motions filed by ECESR lawyers for redress to the two martyrs are in the context of the Center’s continuing efforts to defend the rights of the martyrs and wounded of the Revolution who are overlooked by the state. In this regard, ECESR lawyers had filed frequent appeals at the administrative courts and had previously obtained one decision. On December 31, 2013, the Administrative Court ruled to admit the appeal of the negative decision not to include the name of martyr Mostafa Yehia Hassan, who was killed during the Israeli embassy events on September 9, 2011, in the list of martyrs of the Revolution.
The State Commissioners Authority had also issued two reports on the negative decisions not to include Gaber “Jika” Salah and Mohamed “Kristy” Hussein as martyrs of the Revolution and ruled to admit the two appeals. Other motions related to several martyrs and wounded are still pending in the administrative courts, in relation to events during the rule of Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and deposed president Mohammed Morsi, in addition to the current transitional period.
The rulings by the Administrative Court and the State Commissioners’ reports could be considered a remedy related to the entitlements of martyrs and wounded, particularly those represented in the appeals. However, the decisions go beyond this point by providing for the adoption of crucial principles, which include obliging the state to recognize its responsibility for violations committed by security forces and the use of excessive violence when confronting demonstrations. This also emphasizes the inalienable right to peaceful protest and criminalizes the repression of such acts by security forces.
ECESR remains committed to shouldering responsibility in defending the rights of all martyrs or wounded persons who were overlooked or whose rights had been disregarded by the state. However, it should be stressed that his does not deny the need for state action towards the martyrs and wounded and an initiative to include all those who were neglected, in commitment to the constitution and the law.
The urgent need for respecting the right to peaceful protest and protecting demonstrators, according to the provisions of international conventions and the Egyptian constitution, should be reiterated. In this regard, we repeat the call to repeal the suppressive [protest] law issued by the current transitional administration and its use to justify violence against protesters, their legal prosecution, and the large numbers of arrests.
Finally, we will keep reiterating the call for the state to create a true transitional justice process, including the establishment of independent truth commissions, clear procedures for accountability, and moral and material compensations for those affected, in addition to the restructuring of state and purging its institutions.
This process would be the true guarantee to retrieve the rights of martyrs, wounded, and others victims of the severe violations of human rights witnessed in the country in the past years. It is also the only way out of the circle of violence and terrorism facing in this stage of its history. It is the path to rebuild state institutions on the foundations of democracy, social justice, and the rule of law.