Like all Egyptians I'm proud of the Egyptian armed forces, but I find it my duty to criticize the policies of the military council that is currently performing the functions of the head of state. Several days ago thousands of young people headed towards the Ministry of Defense to submit to the military council the unfulfilled demands of the revolution. They wanted to express their views in a peaceful and civilized manner, and what happened? The military police surrounded them and then hundreds of thugs attacked them with petrol bombs, swords and tear gas and caused hundreds of casualties. This terrifying assault on peaceful demonstrators took place in the presence of military policemen who did not lift a finger to protect the victims, which indicates they had orders not to intervene. This behaviour is unacceptable on the part of military policemen: they cannot abandon their duty to protect civilians and look on as people are slaughtered by the hired thugs of the old regime. The message the demonstrators wanted to convey to the military council included revolutionary demands, none of which the military council has met six months after former President Hosni Mubarak stepped aside. These demands can be summarized as follows:
Firstly, most Egyptian judges are honourable men who act according to their consciences, but the judicial system in Egypt is not independent, in that the judicial inspection department, which has oversight over judges, is subordinate to the minister of justice appointed by the president. The judges have repeatedly asked that the inspection department be transferred from the ministry of justice to the Supreme Judicial Council, but the military council has not given its assent. There are also judges who are seconded as consultants to various state agencies in return for attractive compensation, while at the same time they examine cases that might involve the agencies where they are working as consultants. The latest surprise in this regard is an important document published by the April 6 Movement (this may have compounded the military council's wrath against the movement), a document showing that judge Mustafa Suleiman Aboul Yusr, who was in charge of investigating Hosni Mubarak, works as a consultant to EgyptAir, which is under the control of the Ministry of Civil Aviation. One can imagine how embarrassing it would be for this judge if he were assigned to investigate the complaints that public money was wasted when General Ahmed Shafiq was minister. In that case the judge would be investigating the minister who gives him his monthly pay cheque. Abolishing the system of seconding judges as consultants to state agencies is a fundamental prerequisite for bringing about judicial independence, but the military council has not agreed to do this. There are judges who, according to rulings by the Court of Cassation, have supervised rigged elections, and senior judges have repeatedly asked the military council to disqualify these judges, but the council has not acceded. Action to clean up the judiciary and ensure its independence is a basic demand of the revolution that must be fulfilled to reassure public opinion that trials are fair.
Further, despite my full respect for the person and status of the public prosecutor, Abdel Magid Mahmoud, after he was appointed by Hosni Mubarak, he was compelled to make political accommodations in many cases. Perhaps the most glaring example of that was that during his term of office his department did not perform its role in inspecting places where people are detained. Thousands of Egyptians were brutally tortured in State Security offices and police stations, and the public prosecutor did not order his prosecutors to investigate the police officers. In fact, since General Ahmed Shafik was dismissed as prime minister, twenty-four complaints have been submitted accusing him of wasting public money, yet three full months later the public prosecutor has not yet ordered any investigation of him. What is needed now is the appointment of a new public prosecutor who reflects the spirit of the revolution. Names have been proposed, such as Zakaria Abdel Aziz and Hesham el- Bastawisi, great judges of whom all of Egypt can be proud. The dismissal of the public prosecutor is a basic demand of the revolution.
Moreover, the military council still insists on referring civilians to military courts. How can tens of thousands of Egyptian demonstrators be referred to military courts while those who kill demonstrators and those accused of large-scale corruption enjoy all the guarantees of normal civilian justice? When we called on the military council to dissolve the local councils and the old ruling party, the military council strongly objected and, through several council members, announced that it would not take any exceptional measures. We had to wait a long time before the ruling party and the local councils were dissolved by court rulings. Council members, we are happy that you respect the law, but we would like to draw your attention to two matters: firstly, referring civilians to military trial is a flagrant violation of legal principles and international agreements that Egypt has signed. Secondly, the administrative court in the southern town of Qena recently issued a ruling that banned the trial of civilians in military courts and ordered that all those detained under the military justice system be released and retried before civilian judges. Why haven't you adhered to the law and implemented this ruling? Banning the trial of civilians in military courts is a basic demand of the revolution.
During the revolution the Egyptian people incurred 1,000 dead, and 1,400 Egyptians lost their eyes because of rubber bullets. Five thousand people were injured and 1,000 went missing, probably killed and buried in unknown places. A full six months after these horrendous crimes only one police officer has been convicted of killing demonstrators. The only exception was a policeman tried in absentia, who is apparently so confident that no one will arrest him that he contacted a television station to inform the audience of his point of view on various subjects. We have called on Interior Minister Mansour el-Eissawi to suspend officers accused of killing demonstrators, because they are putting pressure on the families of the victims to change their testimony in favour of the police, but the minister appears to insist on protecting the killers and ensuring the right conditions for them to escape punishment. He has not suspended them, and in fact, some of the officers accused of killing demonstrators, such as Wael el-Koumi in Alexandria, have been promoted and moved to prestigious departments at salaries triple what they were previously earning. Suspending officers accused of killing demonstrators until their trials are over is a basic demand of the revolution.
During the revolution Egyptians saw with their own eyes groups of snipers who went up on the roofs of houses and killed dozens of demonstrators in cold blood. There is video footage that clearly shows a group of snipers on top of the Interior Ministry in Cairo and the officer in command telling them to kill demonstrators. Where are these snipers and why haven't they been arrested yet? The interior minister said they were not part of the police force, but documents then emerged proving that they were policemen. There are two possibilities here: either the interior minister does not know what is happening in his ministry or he is not telling the truth. Either possibility warrants dismissal. Revealing the identity of the snipers and putting them on trial is a basic demand of the revolution.
Since the start of the revolution we have demanded that the military council purge the civil service of corrupt supporters of the old regime and warned them that leaving them in place would make them conspire against the revolution. Unfortunately the military council did not respond to our demands and left the old regime as it was, and now we are paying the price. Most of the assaults and incidents of anarchy have been planned by supporters of the old regime. Some days ago the people at the sit-in in Alexandria caught an intruding State Security officer and confiscated his identity card. The officer's mission was to slip in among the demonstrators and throw stones at the army soldiers so that they would open fire on the demonstrators. A few days earlier a group of thugs confessed to prosecutors that a prominent member of the old ruling party paid them large amounts of money to break up a sit-in in the Saad Zaghloul garden in Alexandria of the families of people killed in the revolution. Even Dr. Sebai, the famous forensic doctor who used to write reports on request for police officers and who was set aside for two months, went back to business as normal yesterday. It looks like they are going to need his bogus reports in the coming months. Purging the civil service of the remnants of the old regime is a basic demand of the revolution.
Because the government media has not been purged, it has vigorously resumed its old role in misleading public opinion and tarnishing the image of the revolution. Among the lies the media has propagated is the notion that the revolution is responsible for the economic crisis in Egypt. This is a complete fallacy, firstly, because the acute economic crisis was created by the Mubarak regime and was a direct cause of the revolution, and secondly, because the Egyptian revolutionaries have not taken power. Consequently, all the problems that have arisen since Mubarak stepped down are solely the responsibility of the military council, which is performing the functions of the head of state. If tourism and investment have been negatively affected, the reason for that has been the deterioration in law and order. The Egyptian police have been invisible for six months and we have a right to ask what the military council has done to restore security so that the Egyptian economy can recover. Why did the military police in Qena allow the demonstrators to block the railway line to southern Egypt for a whole week? Why didn't the military police intervene when the Atfih church was demolished and churches were set ablaze in Embaba? The dismissal of the current interior minister and a restructuring of the police force to restore security is a basic demand of the revolution.
Why is Hosni Mubarak still in Sharm el-Sheikh and is it normal that a defendant should choose the city in which he would like to stand trial? Is it true that Hosni Mubarak has gone to Saudi Arabia and back more than once? Why haven't we seen a single picture of him and what are all these contradictory reports about his health? Why isn't he transferred to the hospital at Tora prison and treated like any other prisoner? Why can't he be visited like an ordinary prisoner and why weren't the members of the committee that visited Gamal and Alaa Mubarak allowed to see them in prison? Don't Egyptians have the right to know the truth? A fair trial for Hosni Mubarak and his family is a basic demand of the revolution.
These are the revolutionary demands that demonstrators across the country have been pressing. They are all just and legitimate demands, and the military council has it in its power to meet them all, but it does not respond. The current crisis in Egypt is the natural outcome of the military council's policies, which have been slow, fumbling and completely oblivious to the wishes of Egyptians. The way to the future lies in meeting the demands of the revolution, and this cannot be postponed or evaded.
Members of the military council, are you really with the revolution?