By Marwa Al-A’asar
CAIRO: The ruling military council’s decision to compensate the injured and families of the martyrs of the revolution is “long overdue,” activists said Friday.
On Thursday evening, the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) announced the creation of a fund, affiliated to the Cabinet, to offer healthcare and social services for those injured and the families of those who lost their lives during the January 25 Revolution.
SCAF said in its 66th statement posted on its Facebook page that the fund will draw up an accurate list of the martyrs’ names as well as offer the necessary treatment for the wounded based on their medical reports. The fund will cover all costs paid by families through the time of the decree.
“The SCAF ratified an earlier [unimplemented] decision by the government,” said Mohamed Sharaf, head of January 25 Heroes Association, an official group concerned with the victims and their families.
“It has been almost five months now [since the SCAF took over authority] and none of the injured or the martyrs’ families received any compensation,” Sharaf, also a visiting professor at American University in Cairo (AUC), told Daily News Egypt.
Neither have the wounded received proper treatment at public hospitals, Sharaf added.
The fund will be composed of 10 representatives from the ministries of health, social solidarity, labor, finance and interior, while the chairman will be selected by the prime minister.
“I object to the representation of the interior ministry in the board, which provokes the victims,” Sharaf said.
SCAF further promised to offer job opportunities for those who were treated and the others still receiving treatment. The council will also support victims whose injuries caused partial or total disability.
The fund will carry out small projects for martyrs’ families and the injured in cooperation with concerned entities.
“Regardless of being overdue, the most important aspect now is that the initiative derives concrete results,” January 25 Heroes Association co-founder Mamdouh Hamza told DNE.
Hamza, a renowned architect currently involved in several political and social initiatives in Egypt, said that he recurrently communicated with SCAF over the past few months to demand compensation and treatment.
“Amongst the demands was the formation of a fund to help them,” he said.
On June 22, Cabinet approved to cash immediate LE 5,000 assistance to those injured during the revolt. However, according to Sharaf, the decision was manipulated as it required proof of the degree of disability in each case.
“Such procedures should only be taken in case of granting a person an ongoing pension,” he said.
The injured and the families of the martyrs have repeatedly complained of government negligence. Many said they could not find enough funds for desperately needed surgeries. Several of those living with different disabilities said they need jobs, while others still demand pensions.
“All givens indicate that SCAF is not working in favor of the revolution,” law professor Salah Sadek, who represented protesters before, told DNE.
“When the revolution first erupted, the Egyptian people called for overthrowing the regime with all its deficiencies, not just [former president Hosni Mubarak]. Yet the government and SCAF are following the same old strategies,” he added.
On April 19, an official fact-finding mission released a 400-page report saying that at least 846 were killed and 6,467 injured during the popular uprising that forced Mubarak to step down on Feb. 11.
The mission held Mubarak ultimately responsible for the killing of protesters since former interior minister Habib El-Adly had issued orders to open fire. Central police forces used batons, tear gas, water cannon and live ammunition against protesters in the first days of the 18-day uprising, the report said.
Mubarak is scheduled to stand trial before a criminal court on Aug. 3 on charges of premeditated murder of peaceful protesters as well as the injury of others.
El-Adly and dozens of police officers across Egypt, including high ranks, are already standing trial over similar charges.