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Egyptian protesters operated on without anesthetic: report

Published: Updated:

The Egyptian military ordered senior doctors to operate without anesthetic on protesters injured last year during demonstrations against military rule at a Cairo hospital, The Guardian reported Friday.

Leaks of the report published by the British daily relate to the army’s behavior during last May’s Abbasiya clashes and the treatment of protesters at the Kobri el-Qoba military hospital in Cairo.

The report into military and police malpractice since 2011, also found evidence that medical staff and soldiers attacked demonstrators inside the military hospital, the British newspaper reported.

According to the Guardian, the investigation, commissioned by President Mohamed Mursi, was told that a senior military doctor told doctors to operate without anaesthetic or sterilization.

“It alleges that a senior military doctor ordered subordinates to operate on wounded protesters without anesthetic or sterilization and reports that doctors, nurses and senior officers also beat some of the wounded protesters. It also claims that a senior officer ordered soldiers to lock protesters in a basement,” The Guardian said.

The report “concludes by recommending an investigation into the highest echelons of the army leadership,” the newspaper added.

Earlier leaks of the report accused the military of torture and forced disappearances during the uprising against the rule of long-time leader Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

This report, although it has not been officially published, is considered to be the Egyptian state’s first acknowledgement of killings during and after the 2011 uprising.

“I can't overestimate the importance of this report,” Heba Morayef, the director of Human Rights Watch in Egypt, told The Guardian.

“It's incredibly important. Until today, there has been no official state acknowledgement of excessive force on the part of the police or military. The army always said they took the side of protesters and never fired a bullet against them. This report is the first time that there has been any official condemnation of the military's responsibility for torture, killing, or disappearances,” she added.

Meanwhile, Egypt's president promoted military commanders on Thursday in show of support for the army amid rumors of tensions between the Islamist leader and the once ruling generals.

Mursi's spokesman said in statement he promoted three major generals to lieutenant generals in a meeting with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which was in charge after Mubarak's ouster and before Mursi's election last June.

Mursi had called for the meeting “in order to calm the situation and remove tensions affecting the military as a result of a defamation campaign and attacks by some politicians”, the official MENA news agency reported.