Interior Ministry annual report ignores fight against terrorism

The Interior Ministry published a year-end report detailing the “harvest” of its security operations in 2015 on Monday night, but failed to mention its crackdown on its most pressing concern: terrorism. 

In its report, the Interior Ministry detailed the number of cases and arrests resulting from its different departments dealing with narcotics, morality, taxes, public funds, among other areas, with no mention of its efforts to combat terrorism.

The ministry regularly posts results from its self-proclaimed war on terrorism on its Facebook page. According to Sherif Mohie Eddin, counter-terrorism and human rights researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), these announcements used to be made on a daily basis, but now they are around once per week.

Last October, the Interior Ministry disclosed that 11,877 people have been arrested on terrorism-related charges since the beginning of 2015. Since then, the ministry has been lax in announcing regular updates, Mohie Eddin told Mada Masr.

He added that the ministry hasn’t announced a roundup of arrests during this year on terrorism charges since that October announcement.

Mohie Eddin finds it strange that the ministry detailed its operations in other areas of security, but not this. “They left out terrorism even though this is the main boogeyman they talk about,” he said.

The researcher said the ministry might have stopped announcing regular figures in the face of backlash from the public in regards to their accuracy. He also attributed the decrease in regular updates to the decline in armed attacks – outside of Sinai – in general and thus a decrease in the number of arrests.

Mohie Eddin maintained, however, that the ministry should clarify whether it had stopped arresting alleged terrorists or if it was continuing to do so without announcing it.

In its report, the Interior Ministry said it received and dealt with a large number of complaints in 2015, including pleas to release or transfer prisoners, as well as “malicious complaints against police forces by Muslim Brotherhood Facebook pages and malicious complaints against torture and mistreatment and claims of poor conditions in prisons.”

The ministry also stated that it had arrested 1,388 defendants in 3,163 morality cases, including human trafficking, prostitution, inciting debauchery, immoral practices and sexual harassment. It claimed to have indicted 1, 114 cases related to embezzlement, bribery, seizing public finds and illicit gains this year as well.

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