AFRICA / Collective Vengeance in Egypt: El Basarta under Security Siege
Date of publication at Tlaxcala: 06/06/2017
Collective Vengeance in Egypt: El Basarta under Security Siege
Al Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence مركز النديم لتأهيل ضحايا العنف والتعذيب
El Basarta is one of the villages of the governorate of Damietta in Egypt's Delta, located along the international road. Its population is about 31 thousand citizens.
El Basarta has been under security siege and has been suffering repeated human rights violations by Egyptian security forces since about two months. Security forces had more than once encircled the village after the Raba'a massacre in August 2013, violently dispersed peaceful demonstrations opposing the regime as well as held several of its residents in forced disappearance.
In the recent attack on Basarta violations against residents extended to include demolition of houses, burning of houses, random arrest of adults and children, violence against women in the village, extrajudicial killings. In addition, security forces breach the sanctity of homes, raiding them constantly in violation of the constitution and the law. It also destroys private property. We have received news regarding the cutting of communication and internet service through jamming devices used by security forces more than once.
This report on recent events in the village is based on several sources, including testimonies directly obtained from residents in addition to news published in the media and social networks.
In quoting residents' testimonies we used pseudonyms to protect their personal safety in view of the daily violations that amounted to extrajudicial killing.
The Siege after 3 July 2013
The story of Basarta did not begin with recent events, but rather following the Raba'a massacre in August 2013, when the village witnessed several demonstrations opposing the regime and supporting ousted president Mohamed Morsi, thereby creating hostility between security forces and the village residents. Although the village has a number of industrial workshops and workers and despite the diversity of its residents in their views, security forces treat the whole village as affiliated to a "terrorist organization" according to statements made by residents to El Nadim center.
Adel says that "the village is not only Muslim Brothers, and that it has a pro-Salafist movement in favor of the Sisi regime, as well as Sufis, and Brothers, and the majority of them have absolutely nothing to do with politics, but the Ministry of Interior treated us as enemies."
In August 2013, a resident of the Basarta village was killed during the disperson of the Raba' sit-in dispersion. His name was Abdullah Kharuba. During the funeral procession, large numbers of people from the village of Basrata gathered in front of Al-Matabouli Mosque and the funeral turned into a demonstration against the regime after July 3.
Funeral of Abdallah Kharouba
After his burial in the graveyards in the vicinity of the Damietta II police station in the Shahabeya area, security forces attacked the angry masses, shooting in their direction, resulting in the killing of 7 residents of the village and the arrest of dozens. Among those killed was Amr Awad, a 30 years old veterinarian.