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A Year in Review: The Egyptian revolutionaries’ wish list for a Ministry of Interior revamp - Daily News Egypt

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A Year in Review: The Egyptian revolutionaries’ wish list for a Ministry of Interior revamp

Violations of the Ministry of Interior were a catalysts for the 25 January Revolution. However, activists' hope for real change in the ministry during 2012 have been crushed.


A plain-clothes Egyptian policeman restrains photographer Thomas Coex on the ground after he was physically stopped from photographing France's President Nicolas Sarkozy and Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner who were jogging on the streets in Sharm el-Sheikh on the Red Sea, Egypt on 29 December 2007. (AP Photo/Stringer, Pool)
A plain-clothes Egyptian policeman restrains photographer Thomas Coex on the ground after he was physically stopped from photographing France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy and Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner who were jogging on the streets in Sharm El-Sheikh on the Red Sea, Egypt on 29 December 2007. (AP Photo/STR, Pool)

1. Cease acting as an investigative arm of the state

  • As well as having free reign to interrogate citizens, the Ministry of Interior also had a horrid human rights’ abuses record during these interrogations.

Progress made:

Investigations on behalf of an unidentifiable entity continued in 2012. Maha Ma’moun, who works with No Military Trials says these are being carried out by security forces, the exact identity of which has been difficult to confirm, but, “we are sure that it is the security department. This is happening a lot and there is still torture in detentions.”

The pattern that emerges in the reports Ma’moun has been privileged to, show a systematic pattern of kidnapping, blindfolding, interrogating and then abandoning the victim on the side of the road. The interrogations can last anywhere from one to 24 hours.

“We file a claim,” said Ma’moun, “but it’s normally to the prosecutor general.” No one has been brought to justice.

 

2. Reformat the ministry

  • This could start with a cleansing of all police officers under investigation for crimes against revolutionaries, an expulsion of colonels who gained their positions through allegiance to the old regime, and a demilitarisation of police apparatus.

Progress made:

“There is no will to change the Ministry of Interior,” said Director of the Arab Programme for Human Rights’ Activists and a former victim of police abuse Haggag Nael. “Everything is still as it was during the Mubarak era.” In particular, Nael points out how the ruling Islamist parties have been preoccupied with not only day-to-day governing, but they have also been preoccupied with an effort to exert and cement their newfound authority. All of this has caused police reform to be de-prioritised.

 

An Egyptian woman holds up portrait of alleged torture victim Khaled Said with the slogan "Suffocation of Emergency [laws]" during a demonstration after Friday prayers in Alexandria June 25, 2010, against his alleged killing by the police earlier this month. (AFP PHOTO/ KHALED DESOUKI)
An Egyptian woman holds up portrait of alleged torture victim Khaled Said with the slogan “Suffocation of Emergency [laws]” during a demonstration after Friday prayers in Alexandria 25 June 2010. (AFP PHOTO/ KHALED DESOUKI)
3. Make job security and promotion less dependent on blind loyalty to power

  • Police contracts are currently structured so that the only way to progress is to prove your allegiance to your superiors.

Progress made:

The chain of command that existed under Mubarak is still in many ways in place. Said Ahmed Yousry, a lawyer from the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre, “The police forces belong to Mubarak’s regime, not Morsy’s. And they are loyal.”

Yousry said that Morsy and the Islamists are neutered from confronting this holdover of Mubarak-era power because they are bogged down in too many battles. “He can’t establish another front,” referring specifically to fierce fighting between the presidency and the judiciary as well as ongoing battles with opposition politicians and voters. “He can’t create another enemy,” concluded Yousry, “he has enough with his recent enemies.”

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