Rights activist recommends security reforms to interior ministry

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By Mai Shams El-Din

CAIRO: Director of the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) Gamal Eid presented Tuesday 32 recommendations to restructure and reform the Ministry of Interior at a meeting with ministry spokesman General Marwan Moustafa.

From the outset “they confessed that the ministry had committed criminal acts in the past, and continues making mistakes in the present,” said Eid on his Twitter account.

His recommendations were divided into three sections: the first targets the immediate reforms that do not require budget allocations or decrees issued by authorities higher than the minister of interior; the second includes reforms that need coordination with other institutions, while the third part includes long-term reforms.

Topping the proposals was the immediate sacking of police officers involved in torture and other violations, even if they are cleared in court, and hiring law school graduates to fill the security vacuum.

The memo also called for an immediate apology from the Ministry of Interior regarding the killing of the January 25 Revolution martyrs and sacking all police officers involved, especially the ones who are officially charged with the killings.

Regarding the ministry’s budget, Eid proposed the full disclosure of the budgets allocated to all departments and the exact number of forces manning each of them. He also proposed judicial supervision over all the activities of the ministry, including the national security apparatus.

In terms of long-term reforms, ANHRI proposed the appointment of a civilian interior minister, preferably with experience in the judiciary, as well as assigning prison supervision to the Ministry of Justice.

Eid confirmed that the rest of the meeting was mainly listing ANHRI’s suggestions, telling them that their responsibility towards reform is bigger now that they know what the expectations are.

“The ministry’s reaction to those suggestions will show through their performance; they may call us again for more communication, or they will never call back,” Eid said.

“The ministry’s spokesman said that they want public monitoring of police stations. This is easy and we can connect them to the [right] people if they really have the will to do so,” he added.

Central Security Forces were heavily criticized by the National Council of Human Rights due to excessive use of violence against protesters in Tahrir Square on June 28 and 29 where protesters were dispersed with teargas bombs and rubber bullets, leaving 1,036 injured according to Ministry of Health.

Meanwhile, the newly-formed National Security apparatus replacing the disbanded State Security organized last month a roundtable discussion titled “National Security Forum: A Future Outlook,” inviting public figures and human rights activists to discuss the status quo of the new security apparatus.

“I liked how the forum presenter used the term ‘institutionalized corruption’ to describe the work ethic of the dissolved state security apparatus, confessing that state security was working almost independent of the Ministry of Interior, being like the black box which nobody knows how it works,” said Executive Director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) Hossam Bahgat on a statement published on the EIPR website.

Bahgat expressed astonishment at the positive attitude of the officers in the new security apparatus, adding that “Everything was positive and encouraging, policemen looked like angels and all our demands were promised to be fulfilled, stirring doubts and hopes at the same time.”


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