Thursday, 5 May 2011

Habib el-Adli sentenced

Former Egyptian interior minister Habib el-Adli has been sentenced by an Egyptian court to 12 years in prison and a fine of about $4 million, ending the first of a series of corruption trials of top figures of the Mubarak regime.
Mr. Adli, 73, was arguably the most powerful cabinet minister under Mr. Mubarak. He personified his government’s repressive tactics, presiding for 14 years over an internal security force of 400,000, about the size of the Egyptian Army. It focused exclusively on suppressing dissent and unrest, specializing in detention and torture without trial. Those who sought to apply the teachings of Islam to political life often fell under especially harsh treatment, regardless of whether their tools were violence or the ballot box. During the 18 days of protests that culminated in Mr. Mubarak’s resignation, Mr. Adli oversaw the brutal attacks that sought to drive peaceful demonstrators from the streets and left about 800 dead. And when the security forces failed to break the protests, he was widely blamed for the sudden disappearance of all police officers from the streets, making way for a wave of looting before neighborhood men organized to restore security.
This was the background of the looting of both the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and the unguarded sites elsewhere in Egypt. If the vandalism in the Museum was indeed (as many now suspect) carried out under the orders of somebody, it would be to El-Adly and those under him that we should look. He has not however been accused of any connection with the looting of cultural property. Mr. Adli now awaits the conclusion of a second trial on charges of overseeing the killing of civilians by security forces during the January 25th revolt.

David Kirkpatrick, 'Once-Feared Egyptian Official Sentenced to 12 Years and Heavily Fined', New York Times May 5, 2011.

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