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Monday, 24 April 2017

Egypt parliament's ethics committee recommends MP El-Sadat be stripped of membership

The committee's recommendation came after it found Sadat guilty of sending secret state information to the inter-parliamentary union, leaking a draft NGO law to foreign embassies and faking the signature of 15 MPs

Gamal Essam El-Din , Sunday 12 Feb 2017
El-Sadat
File photo of Egyptian MP Anwar El-Sadat (Photo: Al-Ahram )
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Sources affiliated with the Egyptian parliament's ethics committee told reporters Sunday that high-profile MP Anwar El-Sadat, head of the liberal Reform and Development Party and former chairman of the human rights committee, is expected to be stripped of his parliamentary membership.

Sources disclosed that after Sadat was questioned 5 February, an ethics sub-committee recommended that he be stripped of his parliamentary membership.

Sadat faces three accusations: giving top secret state information to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), leaking of copies of a government-drafted NGO law to a number of foreign embassies in Cairo without receiving parliament's prior approval, and faking the signatures of 15 MP colleagues.

Ihab El-Tamay, a member of the ethics committee, said: "As for the third accusation – that is leaking copies of a draft NGO law to an EU ambassador in Cairo – the sub-committee recommended that Sadat be prevented from attending the remaining plenary sessions of parliament's current legislative season."

El-Tamawy indicated that Sadat was questioned by a four-member ethics sub-committee headed by legal expert Hassan Bassiouny.

"The 15-member ethics committee, headed by chairman of the legislative and constitutional affairs committee, Bahaaeddin Abu Shoqa, met today to review the accusations leveled against Sadat and his defence," he said.

"All 15 members of the ethics committee agreed that Sadat's parliamentary membership should be dropped because of collecting and sending secret information to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and faking the signatures of 15 of his MP colleagues on two laws he had drafted on Criminal Procedures and NGOs."

Human rights memo 

El-Tamawy said that while he was head of parliament's human rights committee, Sadat sent a detailed memo to the IPU on the situation of human rights in Egypt.

"Sadat claimed that the interior ministry and parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal were not doing enough to advance the agenda of respect of human rights in Egypt. The head of the IPU responded by sending Sadat's memo back to speaker Abdel-Aal who vowed that the matter will not pass easily," he added.

Meanwhile, El-Tamawy said an EU ambassador in Cairo had told Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali that he was able to obtain a copy of the government-drafted NGO law from Sadat. Wali sent a complaint to Abdel-Aal, requesting that Sadat be investigated for leaking a "national security matter."

El-Tamawy said the ethics committee's recommendations will be referred to parliament's legislative and constitutional affairs to be discussed in accordance with Article 53 of parliament's internal bylaws.

"Article 53 states that if the ethics committee recommends that a MP be stripped of his parliamentary membership, the legislative and constitutional affairs committee should meet to discuss this recommendation, question the MP and listen to his defence again," said El-Tamawy.

In response, MP Sadat told reporters that he had not been officially or personally informed of the ethics committee's recommendations.

"While I was investigated, I said I do not trust the ethics sub-committee and that I should rather be questioned by the prosecutor-general," said Sadat.

Sadat, nephew of late President Anwar El-Sadat, said "if a final report recommends that I be stripped of my parliamentary membership, I would still bet that the majority of MPs would vote against this recommendation."

Sadat said he never sent top secret state information to the IPU.  "It was just a complaint that Egypt's parliament is not doing its job well on the agenda of human rights." 

He also dismissed claims that he gave a copy of the government-drafted NGO law to an EU ambassador saying "the government had never sent a draft NGO law to parliament," 

The ethics committee will meet Monday to review a report on maverick MP Ilhami Agina who was investigated last week on allegations of public insults against women, and demanding that girls who want to join universities must face virginity tests first.

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