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'Egyptians must reconcile' says wife of imprisoned Muslim Brotherhood leader on anniversary of Rabaa Massacre Open in fullscreen

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'Egyptians must reconcile' says wife of imprisoned Muslim Brotherhood leader on anniversary of Rabaa Massacre

The Muslim Brotherhood vowed this week vowed to stick to peaceful protests [TNA]

Date of publication: 14 August, 2017

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The wife of imprisoned Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed al-Beltagy has called on Egyptians to reconcile their differences on the anniversary of the Rabaa Massacre.

The wife of imprisoned Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed al-Beltagy has called on Egyptians to reconcile their differences on the anniversary of the Rabaa massacre. 

Sanaa Abdel Gawad told The New Arab on Monday that four years on from the violent dispersal of pro-democracy sit-ins - in which her daughter was killed - she wanted people to unite against "tyranny".

"We will never accept a reconciliation with the regime. I could never forgive the people who killed my daughter and imprisoned my husband and sons," Abdel Gawad said.

"I do welcome calls for popular and social reconciliation which would unite Egyptians, including people who supported the coup and then turned against it," she said.

"Let's let bygones be bygones."

On 14 August 2013, Egyptian security forces violently cleared a sit-in staged in support of former President Mohamed Morsi in eastern Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya square.

While Egyptian authorities say only 623 people were killed in the dispersal, the Muslim Brotherhood and human rights groups put the death toll at nearly 2,600.

The dispersal came a few weeks after the military led by the then Defence Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, deposed Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president, in a military coup.

Abdel Gawad fled Egypt to Turkey in the aftermath of the massacre when security forces launched a bloody crackdown on Islamists, killing hundreds and detaining thousands.

She slammed authorities for failing to hold any one accountable for the largest mass killing in modern history.

"Unfortunately, nothing has changed. The only thing that seems to change is the number of the anniversary," Abdel Gawad said.

"What we need is serious attempts to return the rights of the martyrs instead of an annual celebration honouring the families of the victims. We don't need consolation."

Her 17-year-old daughter Asmaa was killed by a military sniper as she stood at the protest in an attack that reportedly targeted the teenager because of her father's high position in the now-banned Islamist movement.

Abdel Gawad took aim at Sisi, who oversaw the operation to clear the protests.

"Sisi has not adequately been held accountable and has since become excessively tyrannical, killing off opposition in their homes in front of their children."

Abdel Gawad added, however, that she remained hopeful that Egyptians will unite as they did during the 2011 uprising and topple the regime once again.

"Everyday that passes under military rule brings us more failure."

Abdel Gawad's husband, who was a member of parliament, is currently on death row in an Egyptian jail, where he has been imprisoned since the massacre and reportedly been subjected to torture.

Her two sons, Anas and Khaled, have also been imprisoned.

On Sunday, rights group Amnesty International said the Egyptian regime was attempting to wipe out the memory of the Rabaa Massacre and that the incident marked a defining turning point for human rights in the Arab world's most populous country.

"In the years since then, security forces have stepped up violations and varied their methods, carrying out enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions on a scale never seen before," said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

The Muslim Brotherhood vowed this week to stick to peaceful protests marking the event and renewed calls for independent international investigators to look into the killings.

Egypt's police force has nevertheless stepped up security around the country to secure public areas and tourist hotspots ahead of the anniversary.

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