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06CAIRO3293 2006-05-31 16:54:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Cairo
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311654Z May 06
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 003293 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/31/2026

REF: A. CAIRO 3270

B. CAIRO 3161

C. CAIRO 3106

Classified by Ambassador Francis Ricciardone for reasons 1.4
(b) and (d).

1. (C) In a May 31 meeting, Ambassador urged Interior
Minister Habib Adly to respond seriously and quickly to
recent allegations of excessive force against demonstrators
and charges that detained demonstrators had been tortured:
The GOE should investigate, announce the results, and, if
there is evidence of violations, punish those responsible.
The GOE should also consider whether training could help
reduce such apparent abuses. The Ambassador urged the GOE to
investigate transparently such charges. The cases of two
detainees, Mohammed Sharkawy and Karim Shaer were of
particular concern. Adly denied that the two had been
tortured but said their claims were being investigated by the
independent Public Prosecutor. Adly stressed that the Muslim
Brotherhood were exploiting issues like the Judges Club
controversy, fomenting protests, and provoking the police to
advance their agenda. The Ambassador urged that the GOE
register and legalize the Cairo offices of IRI and NDI -
stressing that they should be viewed as allies rather than
threats. End summary.

2. (C) The Ambassador called on Interior Minister Adly on May
31 to underscore USG concerns about reports of police
brutality and the torture of detainees, widely circulated in
the domestic and international media following a series of
anti-GOE demonstrations in May (reftels). Stories and images
of recent police violence and claims of mistreatment by
detainees were resonating not only abroad, but also, we
believed, among the Egyptian people. These pictures and
reports may not tell the whole story, but they are
nonetheless making a very negative impact, the Ambassador
continued. The cases of Mohammed Sharkawy and Karim Shaer,
activists detained on the fringes of a demonstration May 25,
have attracted particular attention because of their graphic
charges of torture and abuse, the Ambassador noted. The GOE
could not afford to ignore the appearance of legal violations
and should investigate, announce the results, punish anyone
found guilty, and take appropriate actions such as training
to prevent recurrence.

3. (C) Adly asserted that charges of police excesses were
greatly exaggerated, and torture charges fabricated, by
leftist and Islamist activists, who have been particularly
focused on attacking and undermining the Ministry of
Interior. Nasserists, leftists, and Islamist sympathizers in
the opposition media readily provided a platform for these
complaints, he added. If so many instances of abuse took
place, victims and groups should come forward with evidence
instead of relying on innuendo, Adly stated. In spite of all
the stories and reports, he continued, only two (Sharkawy and
Shaer) of 400 detainees arrested, have filed complaints.

4. (C) Adly adamantly denied that either detainee had been
abused - "If I found any of my men were involved in such
abuse, I would turn them over to the prosecution
immediately," he maintained. "And if I saw one of my officers
abusing someone on the street, I'd slaughter him myself.
That kind of behavior offends police officers more than
anyone else, as they consider themselves protectors of
citizens. Of course, some of these demonstrators
deliberately insult and provoke the police." Adly confirmed
that Sharkawy and Shaer were still in custody and said that
their complaints have been forwarded to the Public
Prosecution for investigation. In investigating the charges,
the Public Prosecution has the discretion to call for
forensic investigation of the prisoners, using their own
doctors, but the matter is entirely out of the Interior
Ministry's hands, he maintained.

5. (C) The Ambassador responded that if the GOE is
investigating their charges, they should publicize the fact
and not give the impression that they are stonewalling. In
the absence of transparent investigation, many in Egypt and
abroad will believe the worst of what is being reported.
Adly accepted the idea and instructed an aide to pass it on
to the prosecution. Ambassador recalled our standing offer
to consider expanding police training to new areas - for
example, we could explore programs to train Egyptian trainers
in crowd control techniques to build officers' resistance to
provocations. Adly did not respond.

6. (C) Adly told the Ambassador that the Muslim Brotherhood
(MB) had been exploiting the democracy agenda, and the recent
Judges Club controversy in particular, to advance their own
political agenda. The MB provided the core of the
organization and manpower of recent demonstrations, he
asserted. The MB have become particularly cocky and
aggressive since their success in the fall 2005 elections,
Adly opined, adding that their success "proved" that the
parliamentary elections had not been falsified. "If I had
been dictating the results, I certainly would not have given
the MB 88 seats," he stated. The MB are a threat not only in
Egypt but are on the ascent in Jordan, Kuwait, and elsewhere,
their goal is to seize the reins of government across the
region, which would be a calamity for U.S. interests, he
warned. The Ambassador responded that the USG is no fan of
the MB and does not wish to see them succeed. However, he
continued, the GOE should not let its fear of the MB impede
the progress and political development of the country. If
this happens, the MB will win.

7. (C) The Ambassador also flagged for Adly's attention the
current applications of IRI and NDI to formalize and legally
establish their offices in Cairo. Noting the recent campaign
against the groups in the pro-government media, the
Ambassador stressed that the two prestigious American private
institutes operate in a completely open and transparent
manner. Their activities will support rather than undermine
President Mubarak's stated goals for political development.
For example, they had trained Egyptians to conduct proper,
lawful monitoring of last year's elections. In reply, Adly
noted that "one of these groups has launched its activities
before it has legal permission to do so," (an apparent
reference to IRI's May 24 "Open House" which included a press
briefing on its engagement with political parties in Egypt).
The Ambassador stressed that both groups wish to legalize
their status here and repeated that all of their activities
are conducted with complete transparency and are fully in
line with President Mubarak's own reform program. We hoped
that the GOE would view them as friends and assets, certainly
not as undermining national security.