Egypt’s former intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman passed away on Thursday at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. His death has caused another clash between democracy activists and the current leaders after the latter announced their intention to honor Suleiman with a military funeral, says the Associated Press.
Omar Suleiman, world’s most feared intelligence chief, was pronounced dead by the medical team who was taking care of him at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. His death was caused by complications of amyloidosis, a disease which affected his heart, kidney and other major organs. Given that Suleiman was an important member of the Egyptian army, the current political leader, President Mohammed Morsi wants to honor his death with a military funeral.
Several democracy activists, as well as, Twitter and Facebook protestors were disturbed by the Egyptian leaders’ intention to honor the man who supported Hosni Mubarak’s regime. They claim that Suleiman helped the former President enact some of his worst authoritarian measures. He was Mubarak’s right hand and the political secrets he was aware of have earned him the nickname “the black box”.
Suleiman’s biggest responsibility as a spy chief was to track opposition groups and prevent them from overthrowing the President. The 76-year-old army general also acted as an active pawn in the relationships between the United States and the Israel against Islamist groups. He even got involved in the 9/11 rendition program suggesting CIA officials to bring suspect Americans to Egypt for interrogation.
The last time he defended President Mubarak was during the 18-day uprising in 2011. Suleiman was named vice president, but he was unable to stop the thousands of Egyptians who took their protests on the streets. On February 11, 2011, he made a televised appearance to announce that Mubarak has resigned and the state power has been handed to the military forces. Mubarak’s place was taken by one member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Omar’s biggest nemesis.
Activists never had the opportunity to trial Suleiman; even so, they denounce the military honoring of the man who was part of the Mubarak regime. Rights lawyer Malik Adly described the former intelligence chief as an “international butcher”. He is vexed by the fact that both the new and the old regime have pampered Suleiman, including the Muslim Brotherhood who has always fought against the spy-chief.