Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression

Shredding of State Security Documents: Fate of the Archive of Oppression after the March 2011 Protests

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Introduction: 7 years after January the archive of oppression remains classified

This report is issued seven years after the revolution of January 25, 2011, which the Ministry of Interior and the media sector celebrate as the “police day”. This paradox, which has been going on for years, may reflect the contradiction between accounts by citizens, who took part in the January protests and demonstrations, and an official account that the state institutions are working to impose, to the extent that the president in one of his recent speeches said: “What happened 7 or 8 years ago in Egypt will not happen again” most likely in reference to the January 25 revolution.

Thus has persisted the status quo for years: citizens, activists and young people have participated in protests, holding on to the hopes of bread, freedom, and social justice, and an authority that seeks with all its power to obliterate the history of these protests and portray them as a conspiracy aimed at harming the security of the country. In this context this report is being published.

The content of the report is a new attempt by AFTE to revisit incidents of an event, remembered by millions of Egyptians and witnessed by hundreds of them in the midst of the events of the January 25 revolution. This was accompanied with violations against some demonstrators, and more importantly with threats of indictment aimed at political activists every bow and then. In the process a security archive disappears which carried detailed of systematic human rights violations during the decades of Mubarak rule. This is the aspect that this report tries to address in its details.

At the beginning the report bears a narrative account of the stories of the wounded, demonstrators and activists in Cairo and Alexandria, and attempts to paint a comprehensive picture of what happened in those days, which may seem to some very long ago. Through the voices of these alone, the space is given to narratives, which the ruling authority has long sought to destroy. The report reveals motives, not including the overthrow of the state, and goals not including harm to the security of the country.

In a later part of the report, the report is based on official documents – the cases file of the shredding of documents.. the lawsuit, in which the prosecution tried to prove the destruction of state security documents. The report uses case documents, as well as statements by commanders and officers, inspection by the prosecution and details, which constitute important aspects of what happened.

The report reaffirms the importance of knowing the fate of the security archive – or so it attempts – and making it available to citizens. It addresses the repressive history of the state security apparatus in Egypt, with its changing names and constant practices. The report also shows how the security archive can be a tool for preserving memory and achieving transitional justice. This is a discussion that brings us back to the point where the demonstrators started in March 2011. We will not leave the State Security Archive to those who want to hide the truth from us, and we shall not be silent regarding attempts to conceal human rights violations.

Today, perhaps as you read these lines, your daily life may encounter security interference or hear stories about the violation and intimidation of citizens. The content and testimonies of this report may restore some of your vigor, so that these violations will not recur again or rather stop now.

This report is a first attempt by AFTE which needs greater and broader efforts to look for details and aspects that we may not have reached, and perhaps have not sufficiently addressed.

View full report in PDF

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