Assistant Interior Minister for Legal Affairs, Abdel Mawla, said on Saturday that the police has changed its ideology in order to position human rights as the foundation and goal of the force, state news agency Ahram reported. Mawla added that without respect for the legitimate rights of Egyptians the state cannot have model policemen.
Mawla highlighted that the police slogan “police serve the people,” is not merely an empty motto, but their duty.
The speech was held at the Ain Shams University, and was hosted by the Minister of Interior, Gamal El-Din, the Minister of Higher Education Mustafa Nassad, the chairman of the National Organisation of International Human Rights, Shehata Abu Zeid and Hussein Issa the president of Ain Shams University.
During his speech, Mawla said the ministry must provide moral support to the police in order for them to be able to provide security, an essential element for the rebirth of the nation. He said without security there can be no investment, stability or safety, and the goal would be to bring security back to the streets.
The dean of the Faculty of Commerce at Ain Shams University, Tarek Hammad, said during the conference that in order to achieve security and stability the police force would need to maintain its strength and prestige. The use of violence, he said, is permissible so long as it “is only directed against violence,” and not against peaceful citizens. He also said that police should be paid a salary worthy of an officer.
Hammad pointed to the necessity for cooperation between civil organisations and the ministry, saying that human rights violations need to be put under the spotlight so they can not be repeated.
Amr Imam, a human rights lawyer who worked on the Mohamed Mahmoud trials, said he hoped the ministry would stick to their word in reforming the police ideology.
Ain Shams University president Issa said there has been a long history of cooperation between the university and the police academy.
Between 1993 and 2008 the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights documented 460 cases of police torture, and 167 fatalities caused by torture in custody.
In the first 100 days of Mohamed Morsy’s presidency, the Nadeem Centre for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture recorded 88 torture cases. According to an anti-torture coordinator, Ahmed El-Ghamrawy, police officers are reluctant to change their attitudes after 30 years of entrenched superiority.