Tue, 26 Jan 2021 - 07:26 GMT
Tue, 26 Jan 2021 - 07:26 GMT
CAIRO – 26 January 2021: Former Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim Yousef opened up about his time in office for seven months in the aftermath of January 25 Revolution. One month was under overthrown late President Mohamed Morsi who ruled from June 30, 2012 until July 3, 2013 as Yousef was minister between December 7, 2011 and June 25, 2012.
Yousef gave an interview to Egyptian newspaper Sout Al Oma on the occasion of January 25th marking the 69th Police Day and the 10th anniversary of the revolution that toppled the regime of late President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak. It is noted that Morsi was member of the Supreme Guidance Bureau of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is outlawed in Egypt and designated terrorist group.
The former chief of police said that when he was first appointed, Former Minister of Defense and Military Production Mohamed Hussein Tantawy told him in a meeting that also had the prime minister at the time, Kamal al-Ganzoury, "We want to restore the country to its prior state. The security must be restored quickly because people are horrified and terrified."
Tantawy was the chairman of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) that was leading the transitional period until presidential election were held in 2012.
"After I was sworn in, Field Marshall Tantawy held a series of meetings with us to determine the status of security…At the time, the country was experiencing a surge in robbery, theft, road-blocking, crimes, and protests. Hence, actions had to be taken," Yousef pointed out.
The former minister said that he reviewed the ministry's equipment and found out that the ministry possessed 700 vehicles. He spread the vehicles all over the country arming the forces in those vehicles with rifles in order to make the people feel reassured.
"I told the officers to shoot whoever attempts to fire at the police in compatibility with the self-defense right guaranteed by the law," the former interior minister asserted.
Under Morsi, a number of officers - who were secretly adopting the Islamist ideology - rose to the surface demanding that they get allowed to wear beards in what was called the "Bearded Officers Crisis" for their demand was an infringement of the profession's code in Egypt.
Yousef explained that the crisis had begun before he took office and that such officers were joined by some policemen too. "They were striking and my decision was allowing whoever abandons the beard back to work. The code is clear and candidates applying for the Police Academy are well aware of it. Given they refused to comply, I fired them in accordance to law no.109 for the year 1971," the former minister revealed.
"Those resorted to (Muslim Brotherhood leader) Mohamed El Beltagy who claimed I would be compelled to resign and that he would take charge of the ministry and get them back to work. In the aftermath of June 30 Revolution, I learnt they took part in terror attacks," Yousef stated.
Speaking of the brotherhood's attempt to break into the ministry's headquarters, Youssed said, "9,000 Muslim Brotherhood elements encircled the ministry. The forces engaged with them and the Public Prosecutor at the time Abdel Meguid Mahmoud was notified. They repeated the attack again so I summoned the Central Security. We fired tear gas and arrested 500. The engagement lasted for three days foiling their attempt to break into the ministry."
As a consequence, the former minister was questioned by the House of Representatives that was dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists.
The group used to provoke the police so as while Morsi was president, a number of them headed to Nasr City Police Department to visit a number of apprehended individuals at 1:00 a.m. The sheriff refused informing them they have to come at the designated visit time. The elements assaulted the police personnel who responded by forcing them out.
"Morsi called me and wanted to impose a penalty on the department's police personnel but I refused. I told him that would be a wrong measure and that he could ask for my resignation but not implicate me in wrong decisions," Yoused clarified pointing out that Morsi used to repeat "I'm the president" whenever he was opposed.
Within the group's attempt to undermine the police, Youssef reveals another incident that was also involving Morsi. The former minister said that he prepared a list of high-ranking officers who would take up senior positions, and prior to announcing the changes, the late president requested to see it first.
"I headed to the presidential palace and found Ahmed Abdel Aty, who is a dangerous Muslim Brotherhood element, waiting for me with Morsi. Days later, I headed again to the palace and found Morsi giving me a modified list as he discarded certain officers and asked for including others the Supreme Guidance Bureau had designated," Yousef stated.
"Essam al-Erian, Mohamed al-Beltagy, Sobhi Saleh, Akram al-Shaer, and Amr Hamzawy prepared a restructuring plan of the Ministry of Interior at the House of Representatives. They wanted to disintegrate the Central Security and distribute its members among the governorates. They wanted the civil services, and the passport and immigration services to be under the control of the presidency. The goal was giving the Egyptian nationality to foreign elements they deal with and issuing national IDs for them. They wanted the National Security Agency to fall under the control of the Cabinet. They also wanted members of the Supreme Guide Bureau to join the Supreme Council of Police. The chairman of the council at the time and I foiled the scheme," Yoused asserted.
Regarding how the brotherhood planned to deal with late President Mubarak and leaders of the obsolete National Democratic Party, Yousef revealed that they aimed for freeing them in return for their wealth but they later canceled the idea. The former minister said that the duration between the two phone calls from Morsi telling him the idea and canceling it is just 24 hours.
As Mubarak was held in a private hospital while being prosecuted, they made him stay in the hospital of Torra prison. "Mubarak used to be transported from the hospital to the court by a plane and back. One day after a hearing session, he noticed the flight's duration got longer given he was a pilot. So he asked the pilot about the reason, and learnt why. After landing, he refused to leave the plane so the head of the prisons department at the time, Major-General Mohamed Naguib, tried to persuade him but failed. Mubarak said, "I led October War…Those who betrayed the country are not imprisoned. Why am I imprisoned?" When Naguib reported the situation to me, I told him to bring Mubarak's sons, Alaa and Gamal, from Mazraa Prison to check the room prepared for their father. They did and got on the plane to convince their father. He accepted to stay in Torra Prison Hospital and the situation was terminated," the former police chief unveiled.
Yousef confirmed that the Muslim Brotherhood was using the Urtlas in riots after January 25 Revolution.
With regard to the brotherhood's activity in North Sinai, the former chief of police said that 1,500 elements were identified as they were founding a terror group called Welayet Sinai. The U.S. Treasury Department designated Welayet Sinai a terrorist group early in January.
"As we were carrying out raids on their hideouts in collaboration with the Armed Forces, Morsi was declared president. So their number surged to be a few thousands. In the same context, we confiscated 4,000 missiles, and rifles that were smuggled from Libya and were being transported into North Sinai," the former minister stated.