General Rushdi el-Qamari اللواء رشدي القمري

20 April 2011 | 05:44

During the uprising, the regime took down the internet from the night of 27 January till 3 February, after blocking websites like Twitter and Facebook on the previous day. The government also took down the mobile phone networks and SMS, with the complicity of the three operators Mobinil, Vodafone Egypt and Etisalat, as well as internet service providers like TE DATA.

The government body that orchestrated the blackout was the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA), headed by the former Telecommunication Minister Tarek Kamel (whose brother Cairo University President Hossam Kamel is currently the target of an impeachment campaign by faculty staff and student protesters over his ties to the Mubarak regime), together with representatives from the police, Mukhabarrat and government officials.

From SS Officers

The Interior Ministry’s representative on the board of NTRA during the revolution was General Rushdi el-Qamari, whose profile pictures I found on the Nasr City SS DVDs.

Little I managed to find out about the career of General Rushdi Mohamed Sayyed Ahmad el-Qamari, before he became the head of the General Administration of Police Communications in July 2010. But usually heads of such sensitive departments in the interior ministry come from the ranks of State Security Police, especially as he assumed the membership of the NTRA board, sharing seats with the Mukhabarrat.

Essam Sharaf’s cabinet has come out few days ago saying the regime’s shutting down of telecommunications was “inappropriate.” But has anyone been held accountable? What happened to NTRA board members, including General Qamari? Have they been investigated? Do they still keep their posts? Or are we continuing with the musical chairs game?

13 responses to “General Rushdi el-Qamari اللواء رشدي القمري

  1. Just to clarify, the three major operators were required, per their contract with the Egyptian government, to hand over controls of the network when asked to do so. So we really can not lay the blame at their door step.
    Whomever decided to exercise that clause is the one to blame.
    Also, I have heard rumors that the army was not an innocent bystander in all of this. This might explain why very little effort is being put in the investigations.
    Finally, I suspect that el-Qamari was an insignificant pawn in all of this. This must have been orchestrated by people with much higher decision making powers.

  2. I beg to differ
    we took a choice and stood in front of bullets, tanks, and gas that day, why haven’t the companies done the same?
    why was it only us who actually took the brave action, and they didn’t?
    I am talking about later after 7 PM when it was obvious to everyone that everything was of control and Egyptian were actually being MURDERED.
    I am a doctor and I can tell you we needed a lot of ambulances and we couldn’t get enough because of lack of communication.
    When I went back home next day, my mom was out of her mind because she though I was dead and I couldn’t do anything to re-assure her.\
    Shame with the three mobile companies

    Actually I am starting a campaign

  3. Hi 3arabawy, it will be more beneficially if you publish them in Arabic, this should be directed to us in Egypt am I correct? we aren’t talking to foreigners

  4. I’d like to add that the Mobinil mobile service was down in Tahrir square on Jan 25th at night.

  5. @Eman_Hashim We could sue them only if we could show that they where complicit in that crime i.e. they knew we were being shot at and had the power to turn on the network, but they decided to just sit on their hands.
    If that is the case, then they have violated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and we could even take them to an international court of justice. See this link for a legal background:

    My understanding from insider sources, is that they had no control over their networks.

    In any case this issue must be investigated and all the culprits exposed.

  6. ياريت ترجمة عربي للمقالات ده عشان نقدر ننشر بشكل أوسع

  7. Perfectionatic and @Eman_Hashim actually even if the contract had a clause that says that they have to hand over the network to government control if asked or in situations that are deemed “security situations” (by decree of the government no doubt!!); those same contracts will all have a “force majeurre” clauses that allow either party to cancel the contract in the event of a force majeurre. And I am quite sure that in the definition of force najeurre it would include revolutions, and / or massive unrest. So the only question is would the clauses that allow the security services / government to take over the networks survive and / or still be binding even in the event of a force majeurre. If not than the telephone companies could have declared force majeurre and cancelled the contract , and than they wouldn’t have had to shut the networks down. It would only than be in the government’s hands in the event they had critical infrastructure they could shut down that was in their control

  8. Hossam ya Arabawy. There are still some employees detained in mo3takalat for the 3 operators after and before Mo7akamat 3askareya. The iron fist was complete. You don’t think those operators are not controlled enough to pull the plug at any time and anyway they like at any of their service.

  9. Perfectionatic… legal standards are unclear, but the network operators are probably liable. Complicity doesn’t have to relate to the killings. It can be easily connected to the prevention of the right to receive information, which is a separate right in ICCPR (and it is also a direct violation of free expression, since the right encompasses the means used to deliver speech). But more importantly, it can be considered a contributory factor (it has a causal connection) to the unavailability of medical care to the demonstrators and ultimately the death of many. There is 1) clear knowledge of the likely consequences that would result from the act of cutting off the networks, and 2) there is a clear causal connection between the act and the crimes against the protesters. That’s in general all what you need. Of course, all of the jurisprudence is from the US Alien Claims Tort Act, since there is no internationally recognized legal obligation on corporations to respect human rights anyway. As far as I know, ANHRI is looking into suing the wireless operators in Egyptian courts, relying mostly on Egyptian Law from what I understand.

  10. Shutting down the internet and mobile phone networks is not a crime. What will you charge the authorities with? Legally the only crime you can file is a claim for compensation for the abuse of power, also known as “ta3assof fy este3maal el7aq”, which is basically right of the regulatory authority to issue rules and decisions shall not be affected by anything else, but the public interest, in perusing its policies.

  11. Sherif, ma2darsh afty fel qanun el masry. I understand that shutting networks down is not a crime in itself. However, I imagine it would be if there is a proximate causal relation between it and the actual consequence that defines some crimes. Ya3ny, if the crime is “an act causing physical injury” or “causing death” masalan, and we can prove that shutting down networks contributed to the inability to provide medical care or to get help and therefore intensified some injuries and led to physical injury or death (as really happened), then I can’t see why it’s not a crime. The original act in question doesn’t have to be illegal for the crime to exist. Here’s a link to the arguments made by ANHRI (I can’t say how convincing it is since it refers often to “بغير وجه حق” which I guess is your point, that they had the legal right).

    From an international law perspective, there is clearly a ton of violations of so many different rights. The only issue is whether only the state is accountable or whether you can attribute culpability to the corporations as well.

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