World

Egypt: Parliament Expels Lawmaker Critical of Human Rights Record

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi waves as he arrives to the opening ceremony of the New Suez Canal, in Egypt August 6, 2015. Credit: Reuters

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi waves as he arrives to the opening ceremony of the New Suez Canal, in Egypt August 6, 2015. Credit: Reuters

Cairo: Egypt’s parliament on Monday kicked out a prominent legislator with a reputation for being critical of the government because he allegedly “belittled” the assembly in correspondence with foreign organisations.

Mohamed Anwar al-Sadat, the nephew of late President Anwar al-Sadat, was also accused of forging lawmaker’ signatures on a draft bill. He denies the accusation.

Speaker Ali Abdelaal said 468 members out of the chamber’s 596 members voted to unseat Sadat and that there would be a by-election for his seat in the Nile Delta province of Monofiya. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s supporters dominate the legislature.

Sadat had chaired the House of Representatives Committee on human rights until he resigned in August citing parliament’s failing to address citizens’ complaints of abuse.

In a statement on Monday he said the allegations against him were false.

“I answered the accusations with documents and demanded they be investigated by the judiciary,” he said in a statement.

Sadat was an outspoken critic of Egypt’s human rights record and called for the release of hundreds of activists during anti-government protests.

A report by the House Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Affairs had found Sadat sent several statements in English to foreign entities including the Inter-Parliamentary Union that discussed the Egyptian parliament’s inner workings which could “belittle the stature of the House and its image”.

The committee recommended his removal from office.

Sadat said his messages were press statements that he sent to journalists and others.

“These are my public political opinions so if you put me on trial for them then I welcome your verdict,” he said.

Last month, Sadat criticised parliament’s leaders, alleging that the speaker and his two deputies had received three armoured cars worth 18 million Egyptian pounds (over $1 million) at a time of economic hardship for millions of Egyptians.

This is not the first time Sadat has lost his parliamentary seat. His peers also expelled him in 2007 after he declared bankruptcy. At the time he opposed President Hosni Mubarak, his uncle’s successor and one-time vice president. Mubarak was ousted in a 2011 mass uprising.

“It’s not the end of the world,” Sadat told journalists as he left parliament on Monday.

(Reuters)