A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Egypt: An End to State Security Investigations

Egypt's new Interior Minister Mansur Eissawy has issued a decree abolishing the State Security Investigations Service "and all its administrative units, sections and offices in all the governorates of the Republic." The Arabic announcement is here.

In its place will be a new service, to be named the "National Security Sector," which will prtec intrernal security and fight terrorism "in accordance with the constitution and laws and the principles of human rights and freedom," and recruitment of officers will begin soon so that the new service can conduct its duties "without interference in the lives of citizens or the exercise of their politial rights."

It goes without saying that this is encouraging news, provided that they aren't just renaming the old service so notorious for its human rights abuses. If there appears to be a mass transfer of personnel to the new service, there will be much suspicion about any real change. Will it take over the files on citizens kept by the old agency? I suspect those who fought for change will be cautiously optimistic but also vigilant.

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