Exclusive: Shot at close range as he stood, arms aloft, in front of the tanks, Ahmed Hashem Rashwan had the makings of a martyr to
military coup. Egypt
By Magdy Samaan and Richard Spencer in Cairo
Daily Telegraph 18 Aug 2013
References to Tiananmen Square have proliferated in today’s
and as the video camera rolled unseen behind him, he appeared to be recreating
a celebrated image from 24 years ago. Egypt
The result was startlingly different. Shots are heard ringing out; the slender figure in a white shirt crumples and folds over, rising from the ground and then collapsing again, writhing before becoming still.
Close examination shows the back of the shirt puffing out at the moment of impact. Whatever hit him came out the other side: this was live ammunition, not birdshot.
But tracked down by The Daily Telegraph, the figure was, remarkably enough, not only still alive but after two rounds of surgery even able to speak about his actions.
“I was hit by two bullets, one in my stomach and one in my leg,” he said.
Mr Rashwan, 34, an electronic engineer, was part of a crowd protesting in
Ismailia, a town on the Suez Canal three
hours’ drive south-east of .
The journalist who shot the video, Abdullah Shocha, who works for a pro-Islamist television station, caught the image of Mr Rashwan, whom he did not know before, approaching the tanks with his arms above his head in a gesture of surrender.
“After Friday prayers, the army besieged Saleheen Mosque, where the protesters were praying,” Mr Shocha said. “This man raised his hands, and as you can see he was not armed. They wanted to scatter the demonstrators.
First they shot into the air, and then they start to shoot directly at the crowds.
“He was shot in his stomach, and another four people were shot at the same time. Other people managed to pull him to the mosque.”
Speaking just after being released from hospital, Mr Rashwan, who is not a member of any political or Islamist group, said he had reacted to the first sounds of shooting. “I approached them to send a message that we were peaceful but they shot at me,” he said.
“I’m not a complete supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, but I’m afraid that the country is returning back to military rule and that is not a good future for my son, who I want to live a better life.”
As has repeatedly been seen in the last few days, the army’s methods of crowd control did not end with Mr Rashwan’s shooting. Mr Shocha said that shortly afterwards an army helicopter appeared in the sky above the mosque, and a gunman started shooting down on the crowd below.
In all, he said, ten people were killed, to be added to the more than 170 that fell in violence across the country on Friday, the large majority of them members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other opponents of the removal of the deposed president, Mohammed Morsi.
Exact death tolls have been hard to calculate, with the army, police and others surrounding mosques where bodies are being held and denying access to reporters. But doctors say that many people died who could have been saved if they had been allowed through police and army lines for treatment.
In another video, a man is seen being shot as he carries a wounded colleague away.
Ismailia video is also evidence of
the spread of the violence outside
to provincial towns and cities across the country. Cairo Ismailia
is the town where the Brotherhood was founded in 1928 – but it is also key for
its strategic position on the canal, the western world’s oil supply lifeline
and a vital source of income for . Egypt
“No one did any thing to provoke them, but it seems that they are intent on forcing silence on everyone, that anybody who says no to the coup will be killed or arrested. They are accusing us of being terrorists.”