In the aftermath of Mubarak’s downfall, Egyptian protesters stormed the headquarters of the feared-and-hated state security service, exposing what lay hidden inside: mountains-worth of shredded documents, endless surveillance footage of ordinary citizens, horrific torture devices, never-seen sex tapes of Arab royalty, and “a closet full of belly-dancing outfits” likely used for psychological torture. Al Jazeera has the story:
The protesters who stormed the offices of Egyptian state security this weekend say the buildings are proof of “the greatest privacy invasion in history”, filled with transcripts of phone conversations, surveillance reports and stark reminders of the torture carried out inside.
Hundreds of protesters seized the state security building – a prominent symbol of the Egyptian government’s brutality – after hours of protests in 6th of October City on Saturday night. The takeover was the climax of several days of protests outside other state security buildings.
One photo from inside the state security building showed a room full of shredded papers, the pile reaching almost to the ceiling. Egyptians who entered the building also found computers and hard drives that had been destroyed. And a video posted on YouTube shows the charred remains of a massive pile of documents that state security apparently set on fire in the courtyard of the building. Fires have also been reported at other state security offices in recent days.
Thousands of documents were intact, though, and many have now been handed over to the public prosecutor. Some of them show surveillance of prominent Egyptians: There are transcripts of phone calls made by Mohamed ElBaradei, for example, or by Hamdi Kandil, a journalist who was a fierce critic of Mubarak’s regime. Other files documented the lives of ordinary citizens.
Documents described by protesters also showed evidence of vote rigging during last year’s parliamentary elections in Egypt (which many observers at the time called fraudulent). The documents contained lists of candidates from particular districts, and the number of votes each candidate would receive.
Several Egyptians reported finding a whole room full of what appeared to be sex tapes. A photo posted on Twitter showed one tape labelled: “Sexual encounter between a Kuwaiti princess and an Egyptian man.”
The building also contained stark evidence of the torture and abuse many detainees suffered inside. One photograph from Twitter showed a man holding up an electric baton and a cache of handcuffs. Another photo showed a barren cell, with nothing but a toilet in the floor and a tap against the wall for drinking and washing.