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Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Egypt MPs denounce death of Egyptian teenager attacked in UK, plan delegation to investigate

MPs attributed the death of Mariam Abdel-Salam, who was assaulted outside a mall, on racial discrimination and medical negligence, and said there had been a pattern of similar deaths of Egyptian nationals in the UK

Gamal Essam El-Din , Thursday 15 Mar 2018
Egyptian Parliament
A file photo of Egyptian Parliament (Photo:Reuters)
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The head of Egypt parliament's human rights committee said Thursday that contacts are being made with the foreign ministry so that a parliamentary delegation can visit England to investigate the death of Egyptian teenager Mariam Abdel-Salam, who was violently assaulted in the country last month and died on Wednesday.

"We are in contact with the Egyptian foreign ministry and with Egypt's ambassador to the UK, Nasser Kamel, and a number of local and Arab human rights organisations, to help this delegation to England as soon as possible," said Alaa Abed.

Abed revealed that a number of Egyptian and Arab human rights organisations have shown wide solidarity with "the Mariam case," blaming rampant racial discrimination and medical negligence for her tragic death.

"I want to go there not just as head of the Egyptian parliament's human rights committee but also as a lawyer who wants to investigate this crime in a country that claims to be a beacon of democracy and respect for human rights," said Abed.

In a statement issued to parliamentary reporters Thursday, Abed said as many as 13 Arab and Egyptian human rights organisations are preparing a "dossier" on violations against Egyptian nationals in the UK and other countries.

"These organisations, for example, include the National Organisation for Human Rights, the Arab Organization for Human Rights, and the Egyptian Centre for Free Democracy Studies," said Abed.

Abed indicated that "the dossier includes a list of Egyptians who were killed in mysterious circumstances in England,” including actress Souad Hosni, former ambassador Ashraf Marawan, and college student Mariam.

"We want to take this dossier to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to expose the repeated violations of human rights in the UK," said Abed.

Tarek Radwan, head of parliament's foreign relations committee, also confirmed to reporters that MPs are in coordination with the foreign ministry to send a delegation to the UK to follow up on the recent killing.

Mahmoud Badawi, a lawyer and a legal expert, told reporters that "many Egyptians were killed in the UK, with the British authorities not doing enough to investigate or unravel the mystery of their deaths," adding that "it is clear that medical negligence, rampant racial discrimination, and violence in the UK were the major reasons behind the killing of many Egyptians in England."

The 18-year-old college student was attacked by a group of women outside a shopping mall in Nottingham on 20 February and fell into coma following the incident.

She was released from hospital after coming out of the coma, but died on Wednesday.

Egypt's foreign ministry said on Wednesday that the Egyptian consulate in London will follow up on legal measures to punish the culprits and hold accountable those who showed negligence in providing necessary medical care to the teenager.

The ministry said it has been in touch with the girl's family and is taking necessary procedures to send her body home.

Margaret Azer, deputy chairman of the human rights committee, also said in a statement Thursday that the committee will spare no effort in investigating the tragic crime.

"We will follow all the legal measures necessary to hold criminals accountable because the crime of killing Mariam demonstrates a new example of complete and flagrant violation of human rights in Britain," said Azer.

“We will see how human rights organisations in the West, particularly the London-based Amnesty International and the New York-based Human Rights Watch, will react to this crime."

"We know that they will do nothing, because they are just busy issuing flawed reports on human rights conditions in Egypt and Arab countries," said Azer, adding that "if a British or a western national was killed in Egypt, we would see an army of western organisations issuing reports on human rights conditions in Egypt."

“The death of Mariam raises a lot of question marks about medical negligence and carelessness in British hospitals, particularly towards Arabs and Muslims."

Sherine Farag, a member of the human rights committee, also denounced in a statement "the brutal assault which led to the killing of Egyptian student Mariam Abdel-Salam."

“It is not just brutal attack on Mariam which led to her tragic death on Wednesday, but it is also medical negligence and indifference in the British hospital where she was supposedly receiving treatment," said Farag. 

"There are a lot of doubts that the medical staff in the British hospital – Nottingham City Hospital – refrained from doing enough to help Mariam evade death," said Farag, adding that "we are here face-to-face with a crime of medical negligence and deliberate carelessness."

Farag's statement also said the repeated assaults against Arabs and Egyptians in England raise questions about respect for human rights in the UK.

"Most of the criminals go unpunished or the British authorities are not doing enough to arrest perpetrators of these crimes and hold them accountable," said Farag's statement.

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