The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights has issued a report prepared by an investigative mission that visited Al-Koshh village in Sohag Governorate. The mission went to investigate the facts about what is called ’collective punishment practices’ committed by security forces against villagers on September 28, 1998.2 The report was prepared in a suspicious way, giving a one-sided story, ignoring others’ comments and not verifying events.
The organization’s members in Sohag were neither informed nor asked to participate despite being the closest to the stage of events, knowing more than others about details and developments. However, the organization’s report contained false information and allegations depending on one source that was a bishop. The organization’s members in Sohag were never asked to prepare such reports on the Al-Koshh events. They considered what happened was just a regular crime where only Copts were involved. Two Coptic young men known for bad manners were found murdered on Friday, August 14,1998. Security forces widened the circle of
investigation and questioning according to procedures taken in such murder cases.
The murderer was then arrested, but the Bishop of Balyana brought the issue to foreign bodies and international organizations. The Western media as well as some suspicious parties seized on the matter to harm the country. The media and these parties depended on the organization’s reports to provoke sectarian strife in Egypt.
Meanwhile, members of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights in Sohag condemned the report for containing false information and allegations. For those using slogans of freedom and human rights to serve their own interests, the members have dedicated this statement: "We, all members of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights in Sohag, withdraw from the organization’s membership denouncing the latest
report which included false allegations that were far from the truth. By this statement the members declare they are resigning. They are Ahmed Selim, a lawyer; Abdul-Hameed Farag Abdul-Mageed, who is in charge of the organizations’ fieldwork; Esmat Mohamed Ahmed, a member; Fathi Hamada Al-Bousili, a member; Nasser Ahmed Al-Sayed, a member; and Atef Mohamed Selim, a member.