The triumph of Habib al-Adly’s security state

The triumph of Habib al-Adly’s security state
The clearing of Mubarak's former interior minister of the murder of revolutionaries is proof the old security state has prevailed.
3 min read
02 Dec, 2014
Adly's acquittal shows the power of the security state [AFP]

Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, the Egyptian journalist and historian, went on television in April to launch a passioned condemnation of the arrest of Hosni Mubarak.

"When a president of a state is deposed, he must be treated decently, until proven guilty," he told CBC in April. "Mubarak should have been left in one of his houses or in a specific location. It is not right to put a president in a cell in Tora Prison. There is a code of conduct for dealing with these issues. It was wrong for the military council to imprison Mubarak."

As soon as Hosni Mubarak was acquitted of all charges, CBC reminded people that alone among ancient civilisations, the pharaohs had gods of justice.

The expectation was that the former interior minister Habib al-Adly would most probably be the one to take the rap for killing protesters in the January 25 revolution. However after the judges scrutinised the evidence,they deemed that Adly and six other senior officers were innocent.

The judge said history would judge Mubarak as president. He looked as though he was reciting a sermon.

The judge ruled the case has no basis and that history would judge Mubarak as president. The judge looked as though he was reciting a sermon, like a man contemplating history, mistrustful of the material world and preoccupied with abstractions, much like the ancient Greek philosopher Plotinus.

He is leaving Egyptians to accept Adly's innocence with stoical indifference, especially as 250 officers in the interior ministry had already been acquitted of shooting at protesters.

It is evident that the honourable judges in the Cairo criminal court wanted to help the security state that Adly helped build, the state that as soon as it came back to power on the night of 3 July last year, changed the way it dealt with Mubarak and Adly's legacies. Judge Mahmoud al-Rashidi's televised announcement last Saturday night was more than Adly's acquittal. It was an announcement that the security state was back, and in good health.

We call it Adly's security state because the military took power, as it was in the best position to do at the time. The interior ministry and its security and police apparatus, with their remnants of the Mubarak regime, is the force best positioned to govern Egypt. It has serious interests at stake and powerful tools at its disposal. There are also many people involved in the state security apparatus and its many tentacles, which reach everywhere.

This acquittal shows the army does not have the lion's share of power in the new regime. The army is not greatly interested in the acquittal of Mubarak and his sons. This was more the concern of the interior ministry and the government, both linked to Adly and his officers. They are the people against whom the revolution began, because January 25 was Police Day.

This day was chosen as the date for angry demonstrations against the horrific torture and abuse of the police force, inside and outside its prisons. The acquittal of the police and the minister responsible for it is what matters most. It confirms that Adly's security state has triumphed over the state the revolutionaries of January 2011 wanted. Mubarak should never have been arrested in the first place, as the judge hinted, and as Heikal argued previously.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the original author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic website.