A Video Purportedly Showing Egyptian Soldiers Summarily Executing Unarmed Detainees in Sinai

Mekameleen TV, an Egyptian opposition news channel, has broadcast on Thursday night a video which allegedly shows Egyptian soldiers executing unarmed detainees in the Sinai region.

The opposition channel, which broadcast the footage, said that the video was filmed in December 2016 in Sinai.

The three minutes video shows the summary execution of at least three people and other bodies can be seen lying on the ground.

The video shows uniformed soldiers escort a blindfolded man into the field out of military vehicles, place him on his knees, and shoot him multiple times in the head and upper body.

A cameraman can also be seen taking footage of one body. A soldier then appears to remove a gun from next to the body when the cameraman finishes filming.

The victims appear to have their blindfolds removed before being shot.

There is speculation that the summary executions were staged by the soldiers to look as if the deaths had happened in combat.

One soldier can be heard saying repeatedly “not just the head” as another shoots one of the victims.

Moreover, the Mekameleen video also shows a Facebook post where a picture of one of the victims appeared on an official military page with a gun next to his arm.

A young, visibly distressed man has been questioned by the officers and pulled by his hair, according to the video.

The Egyptian military soldiers asked him if he is a member of the Abu Sanana family, and he responds “No, I swear to God I’m from al-Awabadah”.

Then, they asked him where his grandfather lives and then they dragged him to the side, push him onto the floor and remove his blindfold.

One of the soldiers then shoots him in the head. A second soldier then fires at the body on the ground.

The video ends with a statement released by Egypt’s military after the shootings in which it claimed to have neutralized eight “takfiri terrorists”.

However, concerns raised by the footage echo those highlighted by HRW in relation to the incident it investigated in January.

In a report into that incident, the international right organisation questioned the accuracy of a statement published by the Egyptian interior ministry on 13 January which alleged that 10 ISIS fighters had been killed in a raid by security forces.

HRW said that military and forensic experts it had consulted had doubted the authenticity of video footage of the alleged raid.

Human Rights Watch’s report on extrajudicial killings in Sinai stated,”Security forces may have extrajudicially executed at least four and perhaps as many as 10 men in January 2017. They may have arbitrarily detained and forcibly disappeared the men and then staged a counter terrorism raid to cover up the killings.”

Relatives of two of the dead men who had seen their bodies in the morgue told HRW that both appeared to have been killed by a shot to the head.

Joe Stork, HRW’s deputy Middle East and North Africa director,said “These apparent extrajudicial killings reveal total impunity for Egypt’s security forces in the Sinai Peninsula under Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s counter-terrorism policies.”

He added,”Prosecutors need to conduct a full and transparent investigation to get to the bottom of what appear to be grave abuses.”

Since 2013, fighting in North Sinai has left hundreds dead including civilians, security force members, and alleged ISIS fighters. Sinai Province,ISIS affiliated group, has also killed civilians either for alleged collaboration with the authorities or because they were Christians.