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Amnesty condemns attack against civilians in Cairo

Egypt: Amnesty International condemns attack against civilians in Cairo

Amnesty International condemns the bomb attack which killed at least three people and injured dozen others in al-Azhar Quarter in the centre of the capital Cairo on 7 April. According to the authorities those killed are a French woman, an American man and an Egyptian, who is believed to have carried out the attack.

The explosion targeted the historic area of the al-Azhar Quarter, which is known to tourists and Egyptians alike as a commercial and shopping centre. While no responsibility for the blast has been claimed, the authorities believe it may be an individual suicide attack.

Such deliberate attacks against civilians constitute crimes against humanity and can never be justified under any circumstance. Amnesty International has repeatedly condemned suicide bombings and other attacks against civilians carried out by armed groups or government forces in the region and elsewhere.

States have a duty to take measures to protect persons within their jurisdiction against such attacks and to bring to justice those responsible for the attacks. However, any such measures must comply fully with international human rights law. Notably, concrete steps must be taken by the concerned authorities to ensure that suspects are not subject to torture or ill-treatment and are given the right to a fair trial. Amnesty International is also concerned that anyone convicted for such attacks should not be sentenced to death.

In this context, Amnesty International calls on the Egyptian authorities not to repeat the large scale of arbitrary arrests and detention of hundreds and possibly thousands of people that took place following the Taba bombing in Egypt in October 2004. Most of those detained were reportedly kept in secret detention and tortured. Many are still detained without charge or trial. Amnesty International renews its call to the Egyptian authorities to either release those still in custody or else charged them without delay with a recognizably criminal offence and give them a prompt and fair trial. It also calls on the authorities to give the detainees access to their relatives and lawyers as well as any medical attention they may require; and to open an immediate and impartial investigation into the allegations of torture and ill-treatment, make the results public and bring those responsible to justice.

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