Habib al-Adly: I asked for the military to intervene during January 25 protests

In a new hearing in the case on killing protesters during the January 25 revolution, where former President Hosni Mubarak and former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly are accused, the latter defended himself by saying that he knew that the police alone could not face the widespread uprisings.

According to the state-owned Al-Ahram, in the hearing held on Saturday at the Cairo Criminal Court, Adly said that a meeting was held on January 27 in the wake of rising protests, particularly in Suez, where police stations were burnt. In the meeting attended by Prime Minister Ahmad Nazif and spy chief Omar Suleiman, Adly said that he told them that police forces alone won’t be able to handle the protests and that the Armed Forces will have to intervene.

Adly denied allegations that he ordered the police to retreat during the revolution, causing a major security void. 

According to the privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm, the stated that he was shocked by the scenes of prison break-ins and what happened to policemen during the revolution. He also said that after the revolution broke out and he was dismissed from the ministry on January 29, he stopped following the media and was shocked later to see what happened. 

He denied any use of weaponry by police forces against protesters even after the demonstrations stopped being peaceful.

The privately owned Al-Shorouk also reveal Adly’s claims about close coordination between the Mubarak regime and the Muslim Brotherhood. He reportedly said that the Brotherhood had notified the Mubarak regime that they would not take part in the January 25 protests. He added that the regime used to coordinate with the Muslim Brotherhood because they were organized, but were not feared as their numbers and capabilities were well-known and controlled. He specifically cited Brotherhood leaders Khairat al-Shater and Mohamed Badie as being in close contact with the regime and as being constantly threatened if they cross certain boundaries.

According to Al-Masry Al-Youm, Adly also admitted to tapping phone calls and saying that almost everyone was being tapped. He added that he used to tell policemen that while they tap phone calls, if they find irrelevant immoral conversations, he would tell them to leave them aside but to bring in those who made the calls and tell them that what they do is improper. Adly claimed that he used to get judicial permission before tapping phone calls. He praised TV shows that have used some of the recorded materials of public figures and activists and revealed them to the public.

According to Al-Shorouk, Adly admitted that he demanded a blackout on communications during a cabinet meeting in order to preserve order and security in the country. No minister objected to the demand, according to him. Adly reiterated that the decision was hence collective and for limited periods. A committee was formed to include representatives from the ministries of defense, communications, information, as well as the General Intelligence Services in order to implement the decision. 

Further media coverage of the hearing reveal that Adly referred to his personal history to deny charges against him, before moving to dismiss the January 25 revolution as a conspiracy against Egypt. He is quoted in Al-Masry Al-Youm, saying that while he has been accused of torture and other human rights violations, these accusations don’t conform with his professional history. 

Referring to his achievements, Adly said that he was a well-respected policeman who fought terrorism. During his mandate as minister of interior, the number of detainees reportedly dropped from 23,000 to 800, prisons’ budget increased from LE40 million to LE80 million, some torture instruments were banned, prisoners were allowed to pursue graduate studies, prison visits were facilitated as separating wires were removed and the ministry was purged from policemen who used drugs. 

According Al-Ahram, Adly also said that he performed dawn prayers, walked normally in the streets and was at the service of the people with regards to their security needs.

He added that he was planning to resign from the ministry after the January 25 Police Day celebrations, in order to retire and have time with his family. 

According to Al-Ahram, Adly said that the revolution was an American conspiracy aimed at implementing a new Middle East plan, whereby leaders who refuse to cooperate on pursuing their vision were ousted, while the youth were mobilized and trained to revolt against these leaders. He specifically cited the April 6 Youth Movement and the Muslim Brotherhood youth as examples of groups trained and used by the US.

During the hearing, the judge said that Adly’s lawyer demanded that activists Ahmad Douma, Samia Jaheen and Gamila Ismail be investigated by the prosecutor for throwing Molotov cocktails at policemen during the revolution. The lawyer also demanded a reinvestigation into the burning of police stations and stealing of weapons there, as well as re-interrogation of policemen working there. 

Sessions for the retrial of Mubarak, Adly and his aides on charges of killing protesters have been taking place all week, after an appeal was accepted in 2013. The case was first handed to court as it launched in August 2011. An initial verdict in June 2012 handed a life sentence down to both Mubarak and Adly, while his six aides were acquitted. 

The case was adjourned to Sunday. 

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