The Egyptian armed forces and army-aligned militias appear to have committed new extrajudicial executions of suspected militants. Several videos and photographs representing army-affiliated militias show three extrajudicial executions of shackled or wounded men and children.
CAIRO SEPTEMBER 1: – The Egyptian armed forces and army-aligned militias battling an Islamic State (ISIS) affiliate in Egypt’s North Sinai appear to have committed new extrajudicial executions of suspected militants during recent fighting, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday.
Videos and photographs circulated primarily on social media groups representing army-affiliated militias in July and August 2022 show three extrajudicial executions of shackled or wounded men in custody that violate international humanitarian law and would amount to war crimes.
– “Army-affiliated militias in Egypt’s North Sinai have been circulating videos apparently to brag about executing shackled men in captivity,” said Adam Coogle, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
Human Rights Watch analyzed three videos related to two killings published on Facebook and TikTok pages owned by the army-aligned militia groups and their members, in addition to a fourth video and three photographs provided by the Sinai Foundation for Human Rights, a local human rights group, related to the third killing. Human Rights Watch verified authenticity of the videos, which indicate that members of both the militias and the army itself were responsible for the killings.
The videos appear to be recent but Human Rights Watch could not verify the exact timing and sites of the killings. The videos emerged online for the first time between July 1 and August 19, and the Sinai Foundation for Human Rights identified three areas in North and mid-North Sinai where the killings might have occurred.
An 18-second video of one of the killings was posted on August 19 on a Facebook page, “Al-Mrayeh News,” apparently referring to al-Mrayeh village in Baer al-Abd in central North Sinai. The only text says: “victory is close Inshallah.” In the video, a young man in a traditional white garment and dark trousers kneels in a desert area with his hands tied behind his back.
He speaks in a Sinai dialect to his executioners, who can be heard but do not appear in the video. He says: “Have mercy.” The executioners tell him to turn around and fire at him immediately. “He is not dead yet,” one of them says while the young man is on the ground with his legs shaking reflexively. Another round of bullets follows, and one of the executioners orders: “Untie his hands.”
The right to life is an inherent human right that cannot be compromised, even in times of armed conflict or state of emergency. Summary, extrajudicial, or arbitrary executions are prohibited under international law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions of 1949. Egypt is a state party to all three.