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Egypt's MPs accuse British authorities of negligence in investigating killing of Egyptian teenager

Lawmakers also insist that racial discrimination and medical negligence were behind Mariam Abdel-Salam's death, Gamal Essam El-Din reports

Gamal Essam El-Din , Wednesday 6 Jun 2018
Mariam Moustafa
Egyptian teenager Mariam Moustafa who died after being attacked in Nottingham, England on February 20 (Photo: Nottingham Post)
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Members of the Egyptian Parliament's Foreign Relations Committee held a meeting Tuesday with the family of Mariam Mostafa Abdel-Salam, the Egyptian teenager who died in March after being attacked by a group of women outside a shopping mall in Nottingham, UK, in late February.

The 18-year-old college student was taken to a medical centre after being assaulted but then was later released. She then returned to for treatment after her condition worsened and was placed in a medically-induced coma. She died on 14 March.

MP Tarek El-Khouly told reporters that the house's foreign relations committee was keen to meet with Abdel-Salam's family, including her father Hatem Mostafa and mother Nesreen Abul-Enein, on Tuesday "to show solidarity and stress that Mariam's case will remain at the top of the committee's priorities."

El-Khouly added that "Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal's instructions were clear that we keep contact with Egypt's ambassador in the UK and British MPs to help unravel the mystery of this tragic death."

The parliamentarian also said that "the committee has been in constant contact with the Egyptian Foreign Ministry and Egypt's ambassador to the UK in conveying a message to British authorities that we insist on reaching the truth about this crime, which was committed in a country which claims to be a beacon of democracy and respect for human rights."

He explained that "all available information show that racial discrimination and medical negligence are to blame for Egyptian teenager Mariam Abdel-Salam's tragic death in the UK last March."

"There is even negligence on the part of British authorities in investigating the death of Abdel-Salam," he elaborated, adding that "Abdel-Salam's parents complained that the UK authorities are not doing enough to investigate the death of their beloved daughter."

El-Khouly added that "there is a consensus among MPs that we should increase our efforts in response to this British negligence and indifference. Many propose that we open contacts with the UN Human Rights Council because racial discrimination and hatred were the two main reasons behind Abdel-Salam's death."

In March, an Egyptian parliamentary delegation visited London to meet with British MPs and officials in an attempt to gain insight into Abdel-Salam's death.

The delegation, led by the head of parliament's human rights committee, Alaa Abed, also met with Egypt's ambassador to the UK Nasser Kamel and a number of human rights organizations operating in England.

Abed claimed that most human rights organisations have shown strong solidarity with their investigation, blaming "rampant racial discrimination and medical negligence for her tragic death."

British authorities said at that time that a post-mortem examination of Abdel-Salam's body would take place and that it would take time to obtain the results.

"Our investigation is ongoing and extensive inquiries have already been completed," Detective Chief Inspector Mat Healey of Nottinghamshire Police was quoted as saying by British media.

El-Khouly said, "The foreign relations committee's strong interest in Mariam's case reflects a wider and serious interest in the safeguarding of Egyptian nationals, particularly in the UK and Europe, against racial discrimination and repeated violations of human rights."

"You see how Italy and Western media made a lot of noise when an Italian student, Giulio Regeni, was murdered in Cairo two years ago and you see how Egyptian authorities always keen to cooperate with Italian counterparts to unravel this murder," said El-Khouly, adding, "but unfortunately European authorities do not show the same and equal interest when Egyptian and Arab nationals face violations."

"There is a list of Egyptians who were killed under mysterious circumstances in the UK without British authorities showing adequate interest or reaching any conclusions about their tragic deaths," Abed said.

"The list includes actress Souad Hosni who died in London in June 2001 and who British authorities say committed suicide, and former ambassador Ashraf Marwan who was killed in London in June 2007," said Abed.

El-Khouly also said, "We told Abdel-Salam's family that we could take a dossier on Mariam's case and others to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to force British authorities show sufficient and serious interest in exposing these repeated violations of human rights."

Mahmoud Badawi, a lawyer and a human rights activist, told reporters last March that "many Egyptians have been killed in the UK, with the British authorities not doing enough to investigate or unravel the mystery of their deaths."

He added, "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." 

Egypt's Foreign Ministry said last March that the Egyptian consulate in London would follow up on legal measures to punish the culprits and hold accountable those who showed negligence in providing necessary medical care to the Egyptian teenager. 

MP Sherine Farag, a physician and a member of the human rights committee, told Al-Ahram Online that “it was not just a brutal attack on Mariam which led to her tragic death, but also medical negligence and indifference in the British hospital where she was supposedly receiving treatment." 

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

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