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Security apparatus failed to protect citizens from terrorism: NGOs

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NGOs accuse security apparatus of restricting freedoms under the pretext of the “war on terrorism”

People standing in front of the damaged facade of the Cairo Security Directorate, following a car bomb on Friday (AFP PHOTO / KHALED KAMEL)

People standing in front of the damaged facade of the Cairo Security Directorate, following a car bomb on Friday
(AFP PHOTO / KHALED KAMEL)

The proliferation of terrorist operations reflects the authorities’ inability to take their anti-terrorism practices further than media statements and random security confrontations, a group of non-governmental organisations said.

In a joint statement released on Saturday, a group of 13 civil society organisations condemned the terrorist bombings and violent incidents which took place late last week. Four explosions were reported in Greater Cairo on Friday, leaving at least six killed. On Saturday, two more blasts were reported in Cairo and Suez, leaving none killed.

Interim President Adly Mansour condemned the attacks in a national address on Sunday afternoon. He said the state “will not hesitate to take exceptional measures if needs be” to fight the wave of terrorism.

The signatories condemned the “random arrest campaigns” launched by security forces, adding that they give “genuine terrorist cells” the chance to carry out attacks. They accused the authorities of “naming potential suspects, releasing random accusations, and abusing terrorism to campaign for Egypt’s new constitution during the referendum process.”

“While it failed to protect its own headquarters as well as the lives of citizens from terrorist attacks, the security apparatus finding it sufficient to use the ‘war on terrorism’ as a pretext for random arrests and the restriction of freedoms,” the statement read.

The organisations expressed concern regarding the “mounting acts of violence and the excessive use of force by security forces, especially during political protests.”

At least 49 were killed during clashes which erupted between security forces and different opposition factions against the backdrop of the anniversary of the 2011 uprising on Saturday. The Ministry of Interior announced it had arrested 1,079 “rioters”, and accused the “terrorist Muslim Brotherhood organisation” of plotting to “ruin the anniversary celebrations”.

“Instead of preparing to face the cancerous growth of terrorism, security forces dedicate their efforts to oppress those who fight terrorism and to oppress the peaceful opposition and youth activists,” the statement read.

The signatory organisations stressed that exceptional measures will not independently put an end to terrorism. They reminded that the perpetrators of the 2005 Sharm Al-Sheikh terrorist attack and the 2010 Two Saints Church attack are yet to be identified and held accountable.

The signatory organisations warned that terrorism will not be eliminated through security solutions or issuing “exceptional legislations which smother general freedoms and Islamic speech.”

They urged the authorities to address the economic, social and political circumstances that harbour terrorism. They also called for introducing “real and comprehensive reform” to the security apparatus in a manner which would allow for holding investigations where human rights are respected.

The 13 organisations which signed the statement included the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre, the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression and the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights.


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