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Egypt's interior ministry denies raiding Socialist Popular Alliance office

Interior ministry says police were merely inspecting the ‘security situation’ in the area and it does not interfere in political matters

Ahram Online , Tuesday 17 Mar 2015
Egypt's Interior Minister General Magdi Abdel Ghaffar attends the closing session of Egypt Economic Development Conference (EEDC) in Sharm el-Sheikh, in the South Sinai governorate, south of Cairo, March 15, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's interior ministry has denied it raided the Socialist Popular Alliance Party (SPAP) office in Alexandria or arrested any of its members, stressing it does not interfere in politics.

The SPAP had filed a legal complaint against the interior minister and top police officials in Alexandria over the incident at its new rented office in the Mahatet El-Raml area of the city.

"The interior ministry enforces the law without interfering in political or party life and it is committed to impartiality toward all political parties and citizens," its media centre said in a statement.   

The ministry said that while police were inspecting the "security situation" in the area, a local doorman told them that "a group of people frequent [the building in question] at various times."

Police headed to the building, the statement said, and questioned its owner who said one of the apartments had recently been rented out to the SPAP and their members come regularly.

"It was noted that the apartment door … does not have a party sign. [Police] left the site without taking anyone or [committing violations]," the statement read.

The SPAP had said police raided its new office early on Friday morning and damaged it. It said they also temporarily arrested two party members who had headed to the office when they heard the news.

The party said the incident took place as they planned a commemoration event for Shaimaa El-Sabbagh, a party member who was killed by birdshot allegedly fired by police at a Cairo demonstration in January.

Prosecutors are currently investigating the death of El-Sabbagh, 32, but have placed a media gag order on the case.  

Her death caused a local and international outcry, with many criticising security forces for using excessive force in dispersing the peaceful march.

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