Egypt dissolves hated state security agency

Egypt's interior minister has dissolved the country's widely hated state security agency, which is accused of torture and other human rights abuses in the suppression of dissent against ousted Hosni Mubarak's nearly 30-year rule.

The new Interior Minister Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Essawy, a former Cairo security chief, said in a statement issued Tuesday that a new agency in charge of keeping national security and combating terrorism will be formed.

Dismantling the agency was a major demand of the protest movement that led an 18-day uprising to oust Mubarak. Since he stepped down on 11 February, Egyptians have stormed the agency's main headquarters and other offices, seizing documents to keep them from being destroyed to hide evidence of human rights abuses.

Egypt's State Security Investigation Service (SSIS) operates under the command of the Interior Ministry. The SSIS apparatus was established 1961.

It is widely believed that the SSIS was used to weaken Egyptian opposition parties and movements, and that its main function was to protect Mubarak’s regime.  

The apparatus is thought to have been used to purge state institutions, trade unions and universities of any elements seen as potentially hostile to the ruling regime.

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