2,600 Killed in Egypt After Morsi Ouster

2,600 Killed in Egypt After Morsi Ouster2,600 Killed in Egypt After Morsi Ouster

At least 2,600 people were killed in violence in the 18 months after the military overthrew Egypt’s first freely-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, in 2013, nearly half of them supporters of the Islamist leader, the head of a state-sanctioned rights body said on Sunday.

Mohammed Fayeq, head of the National Council for Human Rights, told reporters that the 2,600 included 700 policemen and 550 civilians who were killed in the period between June 30, 2013 and December 31, 2014.

The council is a nominally independent group sanctioned by the government. It has no judicial or law-enforcement powers, AFP reported.

Fayeq criticized the practice of detaining suspects for extended periods pending the filing of formal charges and trial, saying it amounts to “punishment for crimes not committed.”

He said holding cells at police stations are filled to 400 percent capacity and prisons to 160 percent. He added that the interior ministry, controlling the country’s police, announced the deaths of 36 people in detention, while various human rights groups put the figure at between 80 and 98.

The military overthrew Morsi, Egypt’s first freely-elected president, on July 3, 2013. In the following months, his supporters held regular demonstrations that set off deadly clashes with police and rival protesters.

The violence culminated in August 2013, when police violently dispersed two pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo, killing at least 600 of his supporters.

Since then, the military-backed government has waged a sweeping crackdown on Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, now outlawed and branded a terrorist group, and jailed activists for taking part in street protests. Those jailed include some of the leading figures behind the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.