Egypt’s Ministry of Interior threatens to shut down independent newspaper

Egyptian Ministry of Interior threatens to shut down country’s most prominent independent newspaper after publishing investigative report regarding Egyptian police brutality

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Egypt’s most popular independent newspaper Al Masry Al Youm, published an elaborate investigative report titled “Holes in the Police Uniform” on Sunday morning.

The report tackles the human rights violations done by the Egyptian Ministry of Interior in the last two years. “Martyrs and Sinners, The Holes in the Police Uniform” is the full title of the investigative report, published in the printed newspaper and also published online.

The report included many violations of human rights and the use of excessive force, for instance; brutality practiced by police officers against civilians in multiple occasions, torturing suspects to forcibly extract confessions, many resulting in death and rape.

Egyptian TV talk shows discussed the report in length, with an assortment of reactions supportive of the “bold initiative” like Amr Adib, late night show host, who said, “If we silenced hard working journalists, we’ll go nowhere and achieve nothing” and Youssef Al Hussainy, TV talk show host said: “The report is accurate in mapping where the ministry went wrong.” The Holes in the Police Uniform has five main cases presented in detail, first case is “Kareem Hamdi,” the lawyer who was beaten and tortured to death in Al Matareya police station in Cairo.

The forensic report was recently published, showing signs of repeated beating and genital mutilation, Al Matareya police station is now named “the slaughter house.” Second case is “Shaimaa Al Sabbagh,” the lady who was shot multiple times in a peaceful protest and died holding roses that she wanted to put in Tahrir square in commemoration of the January 25 revolution. Third case is “Ahmed Khalil,” the army soldier who was beaten to death by a “cruel army officer” in Sinai.

Fourth case is “The Execution of the Muslim Brotherhood supporter,” a police deputy shot a 21 year-old civilian in Imbaba General Hospital in Cairo while “discussing Arish bombing.” Last case is “Baheya,” the young girl who was repeatedly raped inside a police car by two police deputies. The report also counted in police officers who died in duty, protecting civilians, and bomb squads and explosive teams saving countless vital places all over the country.

Yosri al Badry, the Egyptian journalist who wrote the report and gathered the statistics and information, defended his work by voicing his point of view in several TV channels saying: “The main mission of the ministry of interior is to protect and serve the Egyptian people, not protect one another and rape students inside cars.

Why hasn’t the ministry defended itself against the points illustrated in the report and presented explanations and remedies instead of threatening me and the newspaper I work at.” Badry explained that police brutality is the one of the reasons that fueled the January 25 uprising.

The Egyptian Ministry of Interior’s only comment on the report was “all the ‘facts’ in the report are false and what’s happening is a personal feud between the ministry and Al Masry Al Youm newspaper” with no words over the incidents specifically listed and explained in the report. Negad al Borai, head of the Lawyers & Consultants Group responsible of Al Masry Al Youm newspaper, said the ministry’s reaction proves the state has not changed after the January revolution and that the interior ministry still thinks it is untouchable.

TRTWorld and agencies