Military had no knowledge of destruction of security documents: Sisi

Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi testified at Giza Criminal Court at the Police Academy for 30 minutes Tuesday at the trial of dozens of senior intelligence officers accused of ordering the destruction of important documents.

The defendants in the case stand accused of burning and destroying State Security Investigation Services (SSIS) documents in the wake of the 25 January revolution.

During the session, Sisi denied that the military council or intelligence were informed by the State Security Agency of its actions. The military found out about this, as well as about the storming of offices, through social media platforms, he said.

The court postponed the lawsuit to Wednesday to hear the testimonies of plaintiffs.

Security and military police banned the presence of journalists from the hearing.

Former Chief of the dissolved SSIS Hassan Abdel Rahman and other 40 suspects of the apparatus are involved in the lawsuit. A gag order had earlier been issued on the case.

A military source said Sisi was keen on testifying on Tuesday and that he cancelled a number of commitments to be able attend as a gesture of appreciation of the role of the judiciary.

High security was imposed at the Police Academy on Tuesday, ahead of Sisi’s arrival. Military police were both inside and outside the court.

The trial has been adjourned twice this year because some witnesses, including Sisi, did not testify before the court. Sisi had cited the deteriorating security situation.

In March 2011, hundreds of civilians broke into the SSIS facilities in Cairo and other governorates following reports that its officers had been disposing of documents believed to constitute evidence of corrupt practices and torture.

Some citizens had seized a number of documents and handed them over to investigators.

The SSIS, which had been Egypt’s much-feared and hated security agency, was an important mechanism of the Mubarak regime in the suppression of activism and opposition. The agency was accused of torturing political detainees.

Egypt’s former Interior Minister Mansour al-Essawy disbanded the agency in March 2011.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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