Mostly Harmless

Because therapy is expensive

Khaled Said helped the revolution, it did not pay him in kind

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The trial of Khaled Said’s killers last Thursday, where they received seven years of maximum security imprisonment, only served to reaffirm what many Egyptians already know: the system is flawed beyond reform.

The argument presented to us is that seven years is the maximum the judge could have sentenced the defendants to considering the charges put forth against them.

However, if it weren’t for a corrupt prosecutor general and interior ministry, the officers charged with killing Said would have been charged with murder through torture, something in accordance with international anti-torture legislation Egypt is signatory to.

A state where police officers who torture citizens to death receive lighter sentences than political activists and people who break curfew is not one in need of reform, it needs overhauling.

A new minister of interior selected the usual way, from a pool of retired officers, will not fix the human rights violations routinely taking place. Neither will deploying military police in place of civilian police, this makes things worse.

A civilian minister with a human rights or legal background given enough power to completely revamp the MOI, coupled with the removal of most senior officers and the actual disbandment (read: not renaming) of State Security, might actually help though.

Yet reform seems to be the extent to which the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces are willing to go. The generals wish to restore Egypt to a pre-2001 era where there was no Gamal Mubarak and hiding corruption was achievable.

The council, who seemingly intend to stay in power till at least mid-2013, are undoubtedly part of the Mubarak regime, saying otherwise would be fooling ourselves.

Mubarak hired them all and their most senior official, Field Marshal Tantawi, spent 20 years as Minister of Defense and the military’s commander-in-chief.

More importantly, the military (and thus its leadership) controls an estimated 25–40 percent of the Egypt’s economy. They achieved this by having the military production sector make and sell goods like cooking utensils and pasta, using conscripts as cheap labor.

The theoretical solution then becomes clear: elect a transitional assembly like Tunisia. Easier said than done, however. The military has guns, and besides, “the people and the army are one hand.”


Written by Ahmed Aboulenein

October 28, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Posted in Egypt, Opinion

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