CAIRO / TAMPA, Fla. - Amir Bedier’s body was left in the streets of Cairo for 12 hours. He had been shot in the neck and left for dead, a protestor among thousands demonstrating against the military ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.
Amir was at Rabaa square Wednesday when the military started to forcibly break up thousands of protesters attending a sit-in. Amir’s wife wouldn’t find her husband for hours after his death.
Amir’s brother, Ahmed Bedier, a Tampa resident and former spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations Florida, was visiting for a family member's wedding. He ended up attending his brother’s funeral, but not before he was forced to sign a document to obtain his brother’s body.
"The body was just left in the streets," Bedier said.
Recovering his brother's remains from where the dead were gathered at a mosque was a living nightmare; government officials wanted the family to sign a document saying his brother, clearly shot in the neck, had died of natural causes -- not murder.
When Bedier refused, it added another half day before he could recover the body.
"What I saw there was devastating. It was some 300 bodies there. Most of them had been shot in the upper torso, a single bullet either to the head or parts of the chest or part of the neck -- basically murdered.”
Muslim culture requires that a body be buried within a day's time. In the chaos, Bedier had to violate a country-wide curfew to perform his brother’s funeral. "We had to put him in the back of a truck and we buried him with flashlights in a cemetery," Bedier said. "It was pretty difficult."
The military-ordered state-of-emergency curfew was in place with unrest spreading throughout Egypt.
Bedier planned to return to Tampa next week, but now is afraid of going outdoors. He spoke to ABC Action News from an undisclosed location on Friday via Skype.
"It just felt like you're in some World War II movie, and the Nazis are stopping you and you're praying, 'Hey, I hope these guys don't harass us."
Estimates of the massacre range from 400 to 700 or more, but Bedier’s family expects the number to reach into the thousands. Supporters of the ousted president are outraged at what they call a military coup in a country that only recently had its first elected leader.
"It would be like our U.S. military, our Joint Chiefs of Staff one day going and just taking President Obama out of the White House and kidnapping him."
Amir leaves behind his wife and two children. "Now they don't have their father."
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