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Egypt restores secret police units

July 30, 2013 at 5:13 PM

CAIRO, July 30 (UPI) -- Egypt was accused by human rights activists of returning the country to the Mubarak era, after several controversial secret police units were reinstated.

Following the massacre Saturday of at least 83 Islamists, Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim announced the reinstatement of the state security investigation service Mabahith Amn ad-Dawla, which was shut down in 2011 with several other police groups within it that specialized in investigating Islamist and opposition groups, the British newspaper The Guardian reported Tuesday.

Ibrahim said experienced police sidelined by the 2011 revolution, which brought the downfall of Hosni Mubarak, would be brought back into the investigative fold.

"It's a return to the Mubarak era," said Aida Seif el-Dawla, a prominent human rights activist. "These units committed the most atrocious human rights violations. Incommunicado detentions, killings outside the law. It's an ugly authority that has never been brought to justice."

Karim Ennarah of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights noted the units were never formally disbanded, and Ibrahim may be using the current pro-police national mood as an excuse for their public rehabilitation.

"These units for monitoring political groups are not back. They never went anywhere in the first place," Ennarah said.

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