By Farah Yousry
CAIRO: Hundreds of Egyptian public figures signed a petition calling for the impeachment of Minister of Interior Habib El-Adly for abusing his powers in light of the New Year’s bombing in front of Al-Qeddesine (The Church of the Two Saints) in Alexandria.
According to Arab Lotfy, a film studies professor at the American University in Cairo, the minister is a symbol of the political corruption in Egypt.
Head of Al-Ghad Party Ayman Nour shared the same sentiment.
“The [Minister of Interior] is becoming a mere tool to serve and protect the current regime,” said Nour. “Demanding his impeachment is just fair.”
Nour added that since President Hosni Mubarak dismissed former Minister of Interior Hassan El-Alfy after the 1997 terrorist attack on tourists in Luxor, El-Adly should also be impeached. “Egyptian lives should be more precious than foreign ones.”
“[El-Adly] was reckless when it came to securing Copts — not once, but twice,” said Wael Abbas, a blogger and political activist, “Let alone the torture and the bullying that his soldiers [practiced] against Egyptians during [the] elections and [in various] other incidents throughout his reign.”
After the bombing in front of Al-Qeddesine, 31-year-old Sayed Belal arrested and his family accuse the police of torturing him to death. Nour said that Belal was just another version of Khaled Saeid and Ahmed Shaaban, both of whom were allegedly tortured to death by police officers.
The petition for the minister’s resignation is supported by an amalgamation of artists, politicians, activists, journalists, intellectuals, professors, musicians, writers and many others who believe that “accountability is an absent concept in Egyptian politics.”
Khaled Abol Naga, Yousry Nasrallah, Ayman Nour and Ibrahim Eissa are among more than 230 other public figures to sign the petition.
“The petition might not have a direct impact; it has more of a moral one,” Abbas said. “[The petition is] a way to demonstrate [that Egyptian] society is against the [interior] minister and rejects the status quo.”
The petition stated that holding people accountable for their mistakes is necessary if Egypt is to ever fully solve its own problems. It also raised concerns about how El-Adly has dealt with the aftermath of the church attack.
“Haphazard allegations and torture [are] never the way to solve the problem,” Lotfy said. “The system is abusing its power and using the bombing as a pretext to arrest activists and torture them inhumanely.”
The petition also urged the government to respond to the Copts’ demands and to halt the illegitimate arrests of Muslims and activists participating in sit-in demonstrations and protests. It also called for punishing those responsible for killing Sayed Belal.
“While our petition might not be directly effective, it is necessary that we pronounce the public opinion and pressure the regime,” Nour said.