From the Editors
In online video, Nashwa Abdel-Tawab, wife of Azhar cleric killed this weekend by the military, says husband died when army tried to break up Cabinet sit-in by force.
The widow of senior Al-Azhar cleric Emad Effat, who was killed this weekend in clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters, appeared in a YouTube video on Sunday in which she said her husband had been protesting outside the Cabinet building in downtown Cairo when he was shot in the chest by military personnel attempting to break up the ongoing sit-in by force. Her testimony included a refutation of rumours claiming that Dar Al-Ifta, in which he worked on religious edicts, had said Effat had not taken part in the protest but rather was killed while passing through the area.
Nashwa Abdel-Tawab, Effat’s widow and Ahram Weekly journalist, said in the video that her husband had been participating in popular demonstrations since Egypt’s January uprising.
“During sit-ins at Tahrir Square, he would go to work in the morning and spend the night in the square,” Abdel-Tawab recalled of her husband. “He wasn’t able to join the Cabinet sit-in, but when he saw [the violence], he couldn’t just stand and watch people dying, so he went down to the protest.”
“He didn’t advocate violence,” she added. “He was there to show solidarity with the protesters.”
Effat, senior clerk at Al-Azhar’s influential Dar Al-Ifta religious authority, died on Friday of a gunshot wound sustained when military police attempted to violently dispersed the sit-in.
Effat’s funeral was held on Saturday in the presence of thousands of mourners, including Al-Azhar officials, political activists and Coptic-Christian figures, including prominent Coptic priest Felopateer Gamil and members of the “Maspero Youth” Coptic activist group.
Funeral prayers were led by Egyptian Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa. Afterwards, thousands of mourners proceeded to the cemetery before heading to Tahrir Square where they hurled chants against military rule.
The Dar Al-Ifta has issued an official statement praising Effat as a “martyr,” condemning the ongoing violence outside the Cabinet building, and demanding an investigation into the affair.
Between Thursday and Saturday night, ten protesters were killed according to numbers released by the health ministry, with another 340 having been injured in attacks by security forces.
Since 25 November protesters have been staging a sit-in outside the Cabinet building against Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and the SCAF-appointed government.
Video of testimony by wife of Emad Effat in regarding the details of his death
[Developed in partnership with Ahram Online.]
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