Egyptian police accused of destroying security papers acquitted

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A Cairo court on Wednesday acquitted all police officers and officials accused of destroying documents of the internal security agency whose brutality was a rallying point for the revolt that swept Hosni Mubarak from power.

The 41 acquitted include the former head of the state security apparatus, Hassan Abdel Rahman, who is also on trial with Mubarak and others for complicity in the murder of more than 800 protesters during the 2011 uprising.

The accused were detained in March 2011 after thousands of protesters stormed state security offices across Egypt, finding piles of shredded and burned files as well as evidence of torture and documents detailing the agency's activities.

The court was due to issue its reasoning for the acquittal later on Wednesday.

The state security apparatus was dissolved shortly after the March 2011 protests. Mubarak had used it to crush political opposition, including Islamists, some of whom are now in power.

It was replaced by a new National Security Force, which the Interior Ministry promised would not interfere in the lives of citizens or their right to express their political views.

But reformers say President Mohamed Mursi, elected last June, has not changed the way Egypt's security forces are governed.

Last month, protesters from several hardline Salafi Islamist groups protested outside the new National Security Force headquarters against what they said was a return to pre-revolution methods.