UN rights chief condemns Egypt's 'ruthless violence'
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, on Monday condemned Egypt's "ruthless violence" and "inhuman acts" in the suppression of protests in Cairo.
Egyptian security forces have clashed for a fourth straight day with demonstrators demanding an end to military rule as the death toll rose to 12 and hundreds were reported injured.
The violence -- also condemned by UN chief Ban Ki-moon -- came almost a year after former president Hosni Mubarak was ousted and has overshadowed the count of an election that shows Islamists in the lead.
"The graphic images of protesters, including women, being brutally clubbed and assaulted, long after the point when they are showing any resistance, are utterly shocking," Pillay said.
"People lying motionless on the ground are shown on film being smashed on the head and body with sticks. These are life-threatening and inhuman acts that cannot possibly be justified under the guise of restoration of security or crowd control," she added in a statement.
Anger has been inflamed by YouTube footage of troops beating and kicking a veiled woman whose clothing was ripped to reveal her bra.
Pillay said that "some of those who were filmed this weekend, including those viciously clubbing and kicking an apparently unconscious half-naked woman, should be easy to identify".
"Consequently, there must be arrests and prosecutions."
She warned that "actions like these simply fuel further anger and protests and make a resolution of Egypt's political, social and economic problems more difficult to achieve".
Pillay stressed that "the ruthless violence being used against unarmed women protestors is especially shocking" and pointed to "extremely disturbing reports of the ill-treatment of women in detention".
"I urge Egypt's senior military and political leaders to act now or themselves risk future prosecution for complicity in serious crimes."
© 2011 AFP