Mohamed Ibrahim, an unsolved mystery

Rana Allam
6 Min Read
Rana Allam
Managing editor Rana Allam
Rana Allam

Today marks the anniversary of the appointment of Mohamed Ibrahim as Egypt’s Minister of Interior. And so another year begins with the man who survived it all, whose forces killed indiscriminately under his command and proved to all the people of Egypt that the Ministry of Interior is the regime’s tool to oppress; any regime that holds power can depend on this man to defend it. He is the man who gave Egyptians unquestionable evidence that the police is at the service of those in power, regardless of who they are.

Mohamed Ibrahim was promoted by former President Mohamed Morsi on 6 January 2013, in the country’s second cabinet reshuffle during Morsi’s rule. Ibrahim’s first promotion came after his absolute devotion to secure Morsi’s visit to Assiut with thousands of CSF soldiers, and Morsi promoted him from head of Assiut security to head of prisons’ authority; then, a few months later in January 2013, he became Egypt’s interior minister. It seemed then that Mohamed Ibrahim impressed Morsi very much that the latter promoted him twice in just a few months. And the talk that surrounded such quick promotions was that Ibrahim was a Brotherhood sympathiser. That sounds quite funny nowadays!

The numbers of those the interior ministry killed over the past year have gone beyond 2,500 people. For the sake of this argument, I will put aside those who were killed during clashes or protests or even during the violent dispersals of sit ins and marches; I will only count those who died with no means of fighting back.

So to put things in perspective, here are some numbers that might help:

During his term as head of Qena and Assiut security in 2011 (under SCAF), 12 of those who were killed died inside detention facilities and three died as a result of “overuse of power” on the streets.

During Morsi’ rule, 24 were killed inside detention facilities, 21 died from the police’s overuse of violence, and 29 died in sectarian violence, who Ibrahim’s ministry failed to protect.

Under the Mansour/Sisi era (only until November), 62 died inside detention facilities and 16 died from the overuse of power.

“Inside detention facilities” means they were tortured to death, and “overuse of power” means shooting at people while they are running away!

To me, the case of Mohamed Ibrahim is quite curious. How can a man survive two completely opposing regimes, kill people from both sides and yet remain untouched? Ibrahim has also survived a verdict against him, which had ordered two years of imprisonment and suspension from his position. He, of course, appealed the verdict and everything was over in one week! The sentence was given on 27 May, appealed, accepted and retracted in 3 June.

He has also survived an assassination attempt that took the lives of bystanders and police officers while he remained unharmed.

The number of times we heard rumours of sacking Mohamed Ibrahim cannot be counted, whether during Morsi’s rule or with the appointment of the army-backed government that deposed Morsi, or after the violence Egypt witnessed during the Rabaa and Nahda sit ins dispersals… and until now, with the death toll on the rise, the reports of torture at the hands of the police, the unlawful detentions, and the failure to bring an end to all security issues plaguing the country, it is indeed curious that he remains.

The failure of the interior ministry to protect Copts and churches, knowing that 51 died in sectarian violence during Ibrahim’s rule in the interior ministry, should be indicative.

The notion that the interior ministry handles traffic law enforcement, for example, with the numbers saying that there has been a 24% increase in road accidents in Cairo and travel roads from 2012 to 2013, should ring a bell.

The hundreds of police officers who died under Ibrahim, whether by shooting at them or by targeting the security directorates or intelligence buildings, should raise an alarm. He cannot even protect his own buildings and his own people, how is he expected to succeed in protecting all Egyptians?

It is indeed interesting and baffling, when a man with so many shortcomings and failures, still holds power over the most important and highly controversial institution in this country, in these tremulous times and under such dire need for security!

A year has passed with Ibrahim leading the most notorious institution in Egypt. Happy anniversary!

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