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Police state has ended: Egypt`s President

PTI | Last Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2014 - 23:49

Cairo: Egypt`s military-backed interim President said on Thursday that the country`s uprisings have put an end to the police state and to abuses, part of a campaign to rebrand the security forces amid a heavy handed crackdown on Islamists and other critics of the government.

Adly Mansour`s comments marking Police Day celebrations came despite continued reports of rampant abuses by security forces before and after the military`s July 3 ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.

Rights groups have criticised police for excessive force in breaking up Islamist protests in a crackdown that killed hundreds of protesters.
Security forces have also carried out a wave of arrests, justifying it as a campaign against terrorism and implementing draconian new laws against protests.

Thousands of supporters of Morsi`s Muslim Brotherhood have been jailed, along with a number of journalists and many of the top secular activists who led the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Last month, female secular activists said they were beaten in a police station after being arrested for holding a protest.

The deputy Mideast-North Africa director of Amnesty International today called on Egyptian authorities to "change course and take concrete steps to show they respect human rights and rule of law," including release "prisoners of conscience."

Otherwise, "Egypt is likely to find its jails packed with unlawfully detained prisoners and its morgues and hospitals with yet more victims of arbitrary and abusive force by its police," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.
Egypt`s Foreign Ministry described the report as "tarnishing the facts" and said the government respects human rights while it is engaged in "combating terrorism".

Mansour`s speech came days ahead of the anniversary Saturday of the 18-day uprising against Mubarak, which began on January 25, 2011. The day could bring rival rallies into the streets.

Military loyalists have called on Egyptians to mass in Cairo`s Tahrir Square and urge Army Chief General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who ousted Morsi, to run for president. El-Sissi has yet to announce his intentions.

First Published: Thursday, January 23, 2014 - 23:49
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