The Egyptian parliament’s Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee decided after a three-hour meeting on Sunday evening that MP Anwar El-Sadat be questioned again next week over accusations that he leaked copies of a government drafted NGO law to foreign embassies in Cairo.
El-Sadat, head of the Reform and Development Committee and former Chairman of the Human rights Committee, has also been accused of sending classified information to the Inter-Parliamentary Union and forging the signature of 16 MPs.
Ihab El-Tamawy, a member of the Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee, said the committee's decision came after Sadat was allowed adequate time to defend himself and to respond to accusations.
"His defence and response to questions took one hour and half, after which the committee decided that Sadat be questioned again next Sunday," said El-Tamawy.
El-Tamawy indicated that head of the committee, Bahaaeddin Abu Shoqa, had decided that the closed-door meeting and the questioning of Sadat be attended by MPs who are members of the committee.
"MPs who accused Sadat of faking their signatures were also allowed to attend," said El-Tamawy.
MPs who showed solidarity with Sadat were not allowed to attend the meeting.
"Only one Sadat-affiliated MP – lawyer Ahmed El-Bardisi – was allowed to attend in defence of Sadat," said El-Tamawy
Abu Shoqa indicated that in its meeting next Sunday the committee would give Sadat adequate time to defend himself.
"We are not a politicised committee and all we want is to uncover the truth about the accusations leveled against Sadat," said Abu Shoqa.
The questioning of El-Sadat on Sunday evening came after parliament's ethics committee recommended last week that El-Sadat be stripped of membership.
The 15-member committee found Sadat guilty of sending classified information to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), leaking a draft NGO law to foreign embassies and forging the signatures of 16 MPs.
Sadat told reporters Sunday evening that he denied that he had forwarded any classified information to any foreign institutions.
"A draft of the government NGO law is available on the internet and anyone can take a copy of it, why should I give it a foreign embassy?" Sadat said.
Sadat, nephew of late president Anwar El-Sadat, also insisted that "what was sent to the IPU was just a complaint and by no means classified information."
Sadat denied that he had faked the signatures of 16 of his colleagues on laws he drafted on criminal procedures and NGOs. "Most of these colleagues gave their signatures but they decided later to withdraw these signatures," said Sadat.