Missing Ahram journalist is dead, claims retired police officer

Zeinab El-Gundy and Menna Taher, Thursday 25 Aug 2011

In a series of explosive claims, a retired police officer says documents he possesses show the journalist Reda Helal was murdered by the Mubarak regime and that State Security was behind the Two Saints Church bombing

Reda Halal
Reda Helal who disappeared in 2003 (Photo: Ahram archives)

Police officer Mahmoud Abdel Naby, a former member of "Officers but Honest" Coalition, claimed on television Wednesday night to have documents related to a secret political organisation formed by former interior minister Habib El-Adly, in addition to documents related to the disappearance of Al-Ahram journalist Reda Helal, the death of Egyptian film star Soad Hosni, and the bombing of the Two Saints Church in Alexandria on New Year's Eve.

Abdel Naby claimed in an interview with Tahrir TV's popular host Mahmoud Saad that he acquired these documents from a civilian State Security employee after the headquarters in Nasr City was abandoned last March. Allegedly, these documents are reports made by a secret political organisation formed by El-Adly in 2000 to support the regime and silence any opposition to the Gamal Mubarak succession plan. Reportedly few people knew about it in the ministry.

One of the documents Abdel Naby showed to the media was related to the disappearance of journalist Reda Helal in 2003, with the organisation held fully responsible. 

According to the alleged document, Helal was deceived by a call from State Security telling him that one of his friends was hit by a car and transferred to hospital. On his way to hospital Helal was allegedly abducted by the secret political organisation and taken to State Security headquarters in Jabr Ibn Hayan Street.

The alleged document goes on saying that Helal told officers at State security that his friends possessed dangerous documents related to El-Adly, and that those documents would reach the prosecutor-general should anything happen to him. Abdel Naby gos on to claim that Helal was murdered and that his body was disposed of in acid. 

Helal was managing editor of Al-Ahram newspaper. Many theories have been put forward to explain his disappearance, while after the fall of the Mubarak regime accusations surfaced that El-Adly was behind it. Helal's family said on a number of occasions that they received information he was still alive.

Another document Abdel Naby brought to light concerned the plan of the same organisation to kill the famous Egyptian film star Soad Hosni. The document reveals that the plan was to take advantage of her illness and mental state and throw her out of a high-rise window to her death. Hosni’s case was reopened after the January 25 revolution with allegations implicating Safwat El-Sharif, former secretary-general of the National Democratic Party, in her death. It is alleged that the motive for her murder was Hosni’s intention to publish her memoirs, which might have included information embarrassing to El-Sherif. 

Among other documents Abdel Naby claims to have is one related to the bombing of the Two Saints Church in Alexandria in early January 2011. Allegedly, the secret political cell was behind the bombing, conducted by an affiliated terrorist group. The document claims that the cell wanted to teach the Coptic Patriarch Pope Shenouda III a lesson. There were rumours after the fall of the Mubarak regime that El-Adly and State Security were behind the bombing. Until now there have been demands from activists for an investigation to be opened into the atrocity.

Abdel Naby approached the media and was questioned about these delicate documents at the general prosecutor's office last month. He believes that Interior Minister Mansour El-Eissawy decided to retire him for exposing these matters in the media. Officially, Abdel Naby was forced into early retirement because of his continual absences, which he insists was sanctioned as sick leave.

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