Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Egyptian Government Ousts Hated Secret Police Agency

Cairo - The Egyptian Interior Ministry dissolved the state security agency today.

For 30 years, the feared secret police organization has conducted torture, disappearances, and political murders at the behest of the tyrannical Mubarak regime.

During the 18-day uprising that led to the abdication of 30-year dictator Hosni Mubarak, elements of the agency fanned out among crowds in Cairo's Tahrir, or “Liberation” Square, as it has become known, and attacked freedom fighters who stood up to Mr. Mubarak's tyranny. The attacks marked a turning point in the conflict. Protesters knocked the state security police off their horses and camels, beating them senseless while Army troopers stood by idly and watched, failing to lift a finger to come to their defense.

The protesters have stormed the agency's headquarters every day since then, demanding an end to the security agency.

"As much as we are happy that State Security is now dissolved, National Security, the new entity, must be under real judicial supervision," tweeted Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who worked on a Facebook page that rallied hundreds of thousands of Egyptians behind the protests.

Islam Lotfi, a leading youth activist, called it an "excellent move" but one that should be followed by other steps to restore the Egyptian people's sense of trust and security.

Lotfi said dissolving the agency was just one of the demands of the protest movement.

"We want to see public trials for all those accused of torturing or abusing Egyptians and the Interior Ministry should compensate all those who suffered at the hands of this agency," he said. He added the Interior Ministry should ensure all state security documents are preserved.

Lotfi, who is a member of Egypt's most organized opposition political movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, said the state security agency has "invaded the life of every Egyptian" and it will take a lot of work to remove traces of it from Egyptian public life.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urged Egyptians to stay the course in their reformation of the government during an official state visit. She told the new government ministers and the rebels that they are on the right track and applauded the dissolution of the SSI, or State Security Investigations, as the secret police agency was called.

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