A fact-finding report on the deadly violence that took place in Port Said between 26-28 January says that the security bodies used excessive and random force against protesters.
The Mousawa Centre for Human Rights said in its report that the evidence and testimonies gathered prove official claims that police responded with force to an attempt to break into police institutions are false.
The report is based on testimonies, pictures and videos. The information gathered indicates that armed policemen were positioned on the rooftop of the Port Said Prison and the roofs of two police stations. Testimonies indicate that they shot “professionally” and aimed to kill.
The report stated that eyewitnesses reported seeing between one and four people on motorbikes firing randomly in the air near police stations. In response, security forces shot at unarmed citizens. This move was repeated several times.
In total, 42 people died between 26-28 January. The report indicates that some of those who died were not protesting, but were passersby.
Most of those who died were shot in the head, neck and heart and most of those who were injured were shot in the upper half of the body, the report said.
The report states that many of those who died were shot from long distances, which in some cases reached 700-800 metres. The report adds that many of the people who died were shot in the back.
The report included several recommendations. It called on the authorities to start a fair and transparent investigation. It also called for the suspension of those accused of being complicit in the violence including the Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim and Major General Mohsen Radi, who at the time was the director of security in Port Said.
It also called on the European Union and the United States to stop supplying Egypt with weapons.
Some eyewitnesses, according to the report, have refused to give testimony out of fear. The report stated that they had the constitutional right to be protected from intimidation.
On 26 January, 21 defendants were sentenced to death for their involvement in the death of 74 football fans during a match between Al-Ahly and Al-Masry in February 2012. The sentence prompted violence to break out across the canal city.
The restive city was revisited by violence in March.