Shams Badran, the controversial Egyptian war minister during the reign of former President Gamal Abdel Nasser, died in Plymouth, Britain, at the age of 91.
What do we know about the man whose name has long been associated with “torture” among opponents of the Nasserite era, and who was accused of being one of those responsible for the defeat of the Egyptian army in the June 1967 war?
Badran was born in the Egyptian governorate of Giza in 1929, and graduated from the Military Academy in 1948, only six months after joining it to participate in the Palestine War. He was among the forces that surrounded the Palestinian town of Al-Falouja, and at that time his connection with the members of what is known as the Free Officers Organization against the monarchy in Egypt strengthened.
After the July Revolution in 1952, Shams Badran rose to positions, until he became director of the office of Abdel Hakim Amer, First Vice President of the Republic and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. He was also known for his proximity to President Gamal Abdel Nasser, who chose him as Minister of War in 1966, in a decision that sparked controversy because of what was described as his lack of necessary competence.
Minister of War “setback”
Shams Badran was considered one of those responsible for the defeat of the Egyptian army in the June 1967 war, or what is known as the “setback” in Egyptian official literature, during which Egypt – along with Arab countries – lost lands in favor of Israel, and then resigned a few days later alongside Abdel Hakim Amer, who was the Deputy Commander in Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces at the time.
According to the accounts of a number of people close to Nasser, the Egyptian president had intended to name Badran a successor to him in his famous resignation speech following the 1967 defeat, before he retracted the matter and later ordered his trial with a group of army commanders on charges of responsibility for the defeat, amid reports of his involvement in A coup attempt in favor of Abdul Hakim Amer, who died three months after the defeat in circumstances that continue to cause controversy to this day.
Badran remained in prison until 1974, when the late President Anwar Sadat released him, to leave the country heading to Britain with a diplomatic passport, and he remained there until his death.
Shams Badran and the “Brotherhood”
Badran took over the file of confronting the Muslim Brotherhood and dismantling its cells in what was known as the “Organization 65” case, in reference to the year in which prominent leaders in the group were brought to military trials for overthrowing the regime, and after which the death penalty was carried out against the famous Brotherhood leader Sayed Qutb in 1966.
The name Shams Badran was often associated with accusations by members of the “Muslim Brotherhood” of using torture to extract confessions during investigations in the 1960s, until his critics called him “the myth of torture.”
Badran denied these accusations in his memoirs published by Al-Siyasa newspaper in 2014, saying that they carry a lot of exaggeration that reach the level of myths and delusions.
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