NCHR Fact-Finding

Events of September 9, 2011

Established by:

National Council for Human Rights (NCHR)

Mandate

To gather, analyze, and categorize facts about “the events of September 9, 2011”; to determine the number of persons who died and the cause of their deaths in these events; to determine the numbers of those wounded, injured, and detained as a result of these events; and to refer the findings of this report for follow-up as needed.

Methodology

Conducting field visits to the site of the events; visiting the injured persons in hospitals; meeting the families of the detainees; listening to eyewitness testimonies from participant groups; considering official, independent, and party media reports of the events; watching YouTube videos of the event; and reviewing official statements from the cabinet, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), Ministry of Interior, and Ministry of Health

Named Members

The committee was made up of Muhammad Faiek, Mohsen Awad, George Ishaq, Nasser Amin, Dr. Amr Hamzawi, Hafez Abu Saada, and Mona Zulfikar. The researchers involved in the committee included Gamal Barakat, Nabil Shalaby, Amgad Fathi, Islam Rihan, Moataz Fady, Asmaa Shihab, Nashwa Bahaa, Ahmed Abdullah, Khaled Marouf, and Karim Shalaby.

Findings

The fact-finding committee sought out to investigate “the events of September 9, 2011.” The committee investigated multiple simultaneous protests on September 9. It found three reasons for the protests in question: clashes between supporters of President Hosni Mubarak and the families of the martyrs of the January 2011 revolution, clashes between Ultras Ahlawy (fans of Cairo’s al-Ahly soccer team) and security forces, and an Israeli raid that killed six Egyptian soldiers.

  • The fact-finding committee established that all of the protests were peaceful until 2:00 p.m.; authorities had ordered both military and police forces off of the streets the previous night. At 2:00 pm, a group of Ultras Ahlawy marched toward the Ministry of Interior, protesting the arrest of an ultra the previous night in earlier clashes with security forces. Some protest groups followed them, destroying the Ministry of Interior sign at the main entrance. Eyewitnesses testified that protesters convinced other protesters to remain peaceful. However, the ministry contested this, ultimately issuing a press release stating that a fire had started in a basement room at the time of the protest.
  • Other groups of protesters marched toward the Israeli embassy and demolished the wall in front of the embassy. The protesters managed to break into the embassy’s administrative house by breaking its windows and threw documents they found inside into the street.
  • Simultaneously, another group of protesters marched to the Saudi embassy. They began throwing rocks at the embassy, resulting in broken windows and security cameras. They also attacked and burned Central Security Forces trucks, a car owned by the Saudi embassy, and a civilian car. Another group of protesters marched toward the police headquarters and tried to break in. The security forces began to defend the building and attempted to push back the protesters.
  • Overall, the committee determined that four people were killed and a further 1,049 were injured—58 of them policemen—in all the protests.

Recommendations

The committee’s conclusion and recommendations:

  • noted its concern that some peaceful protests were co-opted by violent groups to attack state institutions;
  • demanded a transparent investigation by the Public Prosecution;
  • condemned reinstating the state of emergency that frustrates civilians because of its Mubarak-era connotations;
  • condemned sentencing civilians in emergency courts without due process;
  • condemned media censorship;
  • condemned official statements that blamed the protesters for the destruction; and
  • stressed the need for the police to return to protecting citizens, ensuring public safety, and ensuring human rights.

Analysis

The report was detailed and concise, but not conclusive. The report’s effort to include a variety of eyewitness testimony alongside official announcements is commendable. The committee addressed a wide cross section of evidence in its methodology, resulting in a comprehensive narrative. However, the committee did not elaborate on this narrative by creating any definitive conclusions or endorsing a particular view of events. The report would have been strengthened by the complete account of each eyewitness; instead, the committee analyzes the testimony and refers in its report to multiple unidentified eyewitnesses. The report’s recommendations are well substantiated by the evidence presented and are unusual among NCHR reports for criticizing the police. Media coverage about the incident, mostly international, conforms to the narrative that the fact-finding committee outlined.

Report

A full text of the report is available in Arabic here.