police

7 officers suspended for growing beards

7 police officers who tried to grow their beards on duty were quickly suspended by the ministry of interior. This level of firmness is never seen with officers who kill or torture.

The matter of officers growing beards is controversial.

Should the Egyptian police force respect the officers' personal choice and religion, provided they are treated equally and Christians are allowed to wear a cross. Or is it better if the image of law enforcement is a secular one?

Translation of a video testimony of a protester shot by the police on the 28th of January in Cairo

This a very quick translation of this video testimony that was sent to me. I think it is very important and moving.

The video is slightly graphic near the end.

My name is Mohammed el-Faramawy

I joined the marches on the Friday of Anger on the 28th of January. I had a first aid bag on my back, I took it with me to Tahrir square to treat the injured, at around 1 the army entered.

We were near the Shoura council and the army asked us to let a group of anti-riot policemen, they told us the policemen were afraid and we should let them pass so they can join other policemen near the ministry of interior so they can retreat and go back home as a group.

We made a cordon, so they can pass safely. They passed while we greeted them. As soon as they reached the other end, their police officer gave them ammunition and order them to shoot us in the back. They started shooting at everyone.

I ran, I ran with a colleagues and hid in Shoura council. We entered and security told us to hide in there and not to be afraid but from across the other end of the council someone related to the ministry of interior pointed his gun and told us to run away right now and leave or he will start shooting. We told him that they are shooting live ammunition and if we go back we will be shot.

He said I'll kill you and started shooting. We all ran away.
While running a police officer stopped us and told us to raise our arms and give him our backs. He had a shot gun. Suddenly, while giving him our backs I saw the man in front of me with a hole in his back and he dropped down dead in front of. He was martyred.

Afterwards, I tried to run away. A bullet entered my left hip. I fell to the ground and all my fellow protesters fell on top of me, exactly like dominoes or chickens falling on top of each others.

Torture and police, what now?

AlJazeera English Inside Story aired a 25 minutes interview with psychiatrist Dr. Ahmed Okasha, Hisham Safie Eldin a former police officer and Wael Omar a film maker about torture and the relationship between people and the police.

The program showed some footage of police officers and policemen protesting in the past few days. But didn't interview anyone from El Nadim centre for rehabilitation of victims of torture, which is the only centre in Egypt that worked in psychological and medical rehabilitation of victims of torture and police violence, documented incidents of torture through tens of publications and provides legal aid n(I worked there for 3 years).

Not even anyone from any human rights organisation who may have worked with victims of torture was interviewed.

This made the program overlook many aspects of why torture is systematic in the country and didn't mention any of the reports of torture in the hands of the military police that are being reported in the past few weeks.

Dr. Okasha attributed the problems to lack of trust between people and the police due to the previous practices of the police in the past. And that some officers enjoyed the torture as a form of sadism. He also went on saying that torture is enjoyable to torturers because of opiates released in the brain and so on.

Rehabilitation of Police Officers?

Since change from the top seems unlikely. Civil society should establish programs to reach out and provide alternative career options for current police officers who are willing to leave their jobs.

For example, they may help them transform into lawyers. NGOs may fund masters programs in different Law schools, provide them with extra tuition help, enroll them in human rights courses and help them establish small combined legal offices through grants.

Exploring family relations from online obituaries using text mining and data visualisation tools

Using a copy of all the obituaries published online by the Ahram newspaper from January 2002 till April 2008 it is possible to use Linux command line tools (gawk, sed, bash) to find family relations between individuals in certain professions. An example given here explores the family links between a sample of 456 Egyptian state security officers.

This is a very brief description of the method.

  1. The first step is to convert the HTML files downloaded by curl into one giant text file.
  2. Then to move each separate obituary into a line of it's own.
  3. Extract officer names sandwiched between rank and place of work into a separate text file.
  4. Search for the names of each officer through each obituary, family links between different officers can be discovered.
  5. The output is in GraphViz .dot format, which draws a graph similar to the one below.
  6. Graph showing 63 family links between 174 officers from 456 Egyptian state security officers. Each link corresponds to a family tie of a variable degree of relationship including in-laws.

    Graph showing 63 family links between 174 officers from 456 Egyptian state security officers. Each link corresponds to a family tie of a variable degree of relationship including in-laws.

    This is just a preview of what might be possible using a data set of 43,156 obituary. Without control group(s), this graph says nothing other than it's pretty and that there are family links between officers. Other methods for analysis of data could be done using statistical methods to answer different questions.

    UPDATE: I attached the list of SS officers and the script used to find links between officers and output a .dot Graphviz file. You can download the obituaries dataset from here.

Best astroturfing fart in the northern hemisphere

Not all humans are capable of producing flammable flatus. Flatus is flammable because it contains Methane.

A clique of NDP politicians created this on their own:

From the DailyNewsEgypt:

CAIRO: An NGO was recently launched to repair relations between Egypt’s citizens and its police force, it was announced Thursday.

Named “Police and People” and created by former Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher, the organization aims to bridge the ever widening gap between the police and citizens, as well as foster awareness about the proper role for each.