39 captures
17 Nov 2011 - 20 Sep 2020
About this capture
Middle East
Egyptian state security disbanded
Interior minister disbands country's hated state security agency, which was accused of torture and human rights abuses.
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2011 20:58 GMT
Protesters stormed several state security buildings earlier this month, in a bid to expose officials documents [Reuters]
Egypt's interior minister has disbanded the country's feared state security agency, which was accused of torture and human rights abuses during the 30-year rule of former president Hosni Mubarak.
Major General Mansour el-Essawy, a former Cairo security chief and the new interior minister, announced the dissolution of the security apparatus in a statement on Tuesday.
He said a new agency in charge of keeping national security and combatting terrorism will be formed "in line with the constitution and principles of human rights".
Officers for the new agency will be chosen in the coming few days, the statement said, adding that the new agency will "serve the country without intervening in the lives of citizens while they practice their rights and political life".
The move meets one of the main demands of activists who led an 18-day uprising against Mubarak, who stepped down on February 11.
The security branch, which was empowered to conduct emergency trials, was widely hated and its officers accused of committing torture.
'Hated police force'
The move was announced as Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, visited the capital, Cairo in a bid to lend support to Egypt during its transition.
Speaking at a joint news conference with the Egyptian foreign minister Nabil Elaraby during a visit to Cairo on Tuesday, Clinton welcomed the announcment.
Al Jazeera's James Bays, reporting from Cairo, said the timing of the announcement could have been a bid to deliver good news during her visit.
But he said the dissolution of the state security agency also came as welcome news to many Egyptians because the role of the apparatus had expanded in recent years.
"They'd become a separate police force that seemed to be involved in torture, surveillance, tapping people's phones," he said.
"They were able to start cases against people and then actually prosecute people and imprison people. So they were a very hated force."
"They've now been replaced by a new national security agency; new staff are being recruited for that agency and we're told it will have a more defined role."
Powerful symbol
But he said there will be some among the pro-democracy activists who say that does not go far enough, and who would like to see prosecutions against those who were leading the old agency.
Protesters stormed several state security buildings in Egypt earlier this month, seizing documents to keep them from being destroyed to hide evidence of human rights abuses.
Many official documents were already shredded in piles or burned in what protesters believe was an attempt to hide evidence incriminating senior officials in abuses. Some also searched the building for secret detention rooms.
Egypt's State Security Investigations (SSI), which were given a free hand by emergency laws under Mubarak, were some of the most powerful symbols of the former regime.

Many protest leaders claimed the agency remained active in protecting the old regime and trying to sabotage the revolution, despite the fall of Mubarak and his government.
Al Jazeera and agencies
Print Article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
The contradictions of the Arab Spring
The spirit of 1968 flows through Arab Spring and Occupy movement - as its counter-current attempts to suppress uprising.
The struggle for Syria
The Syrian people are being sacrificed at the altar of US imperialism, says author.
So what exactly is a technocrat anyway?
What is a 'technocrat'? And why are technocratic governments all the rage these days in Europe?
Groundhog Day in Palestine/Israel
The past six decades have seen many changes in world politics - the one thing that remains constant is the occupation.
Top News
Closer US-Australia security ties irk China
Arab League extends Syria deadline
Security tight as ASEAN summit opens in Bali
Greece braced for major protests
Raid survivor says FARC 'still a force'
Middle East
Arab League extends Syria deadline
Protesters storm Kuwaiti parliament
'Al-Qaeda-linked' fighters killed in Yemen
France summons Israeli envoy over Gaza attack
Al-Qaeda leader praises 'kind' bin Laden
What's Hot
ViewedEmailed7 Days
Closer US-Australia security ties irk China
The Mayor of Mogadishu
So what exactly is a technocrat anyway?
Bridal slaves
US millionaires say 'raise our taxes'
Protesters storm Kuwaiti parliament
Arab League extends Syria deadline
The return of the neo-Nazis
World's oceans in peril
Letters from Iran
More Opinion
Will the euro be destroyed by ideologues?
Dean Baker
FARC leader dies, civil war continues
William Lloyd George
'Occupy' culture enters Roman theatre
Donatella Della Ratta
The People's Library and the future of OWS
Mark LeVine
The spectre of extremism
Dan Hind
Down with the Eurozone
Nouriel Roubini
As the American dream unravels
Ahmed Moor
So what exactly is a technocrat anyway?
Joshua A. Tucker
Groundhog Day in Palestine/Israel
Michael Hudson
Is it time to occupy the world?
Danny Schechter
Kenya versus al-Shabab
Abdi Ismail Samatar
Istanbul and the US 'Peace Process' for Kabul
Robert Grenier
You can't evict an idea
Danny Schechter
How neoliberalism created an age of activism
Juan Cole
2011 Tunisia Election
News and perspectives on the North African nation's first vote since Ben Ali's ouster.
Join Our Mailing List
Email Address

Enter Zip Code

NewsIn DepthProgrammesVideoBlogsBusinessWeatherSportWatch Live
AfricaAmericasAsia-PacificCentral & South AsiaEuropeMiddle East