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Abu-Ismail appears on TV for 1st time since Abbasiya, slams ruling military

Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail speaks on television for the first time since being disqualified from Egypt's presidential race, lashes out at the body that eliminated him and denies responsibility for the deadly Abbasiya clashes

Ahram Online , Tuesday 8 May 2012
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Former presdiential candidate Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail surrounded by his supporters, March 2012 (Photo: Reuters)
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Former Salafist presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail denied having any involvement in the Abbasiya clashes that resulted in the death of at least ten protesters, with hundreds injured or in military detention.

Speaking on the privately-owned satellite ONTV channel Monday evening for two hours, marking his first appearance on television since his elimination from the presidential race by the Supreme Presidential Elections Commission (SPEC) on 10 April, Abu-Ismail affirmed that, furthermore, he had published numerous statements asking his supporters to "calm down."

He also claims that protesters at the sit-in from 28 April - 4 May in Abbasiya, which ended with deadly clashes between military forces and a number of protesters — were moved by their anger and not by any one person per se.  

"The people ignored my request and continued to protest my elimination [from the presidential race]. If I wished to mobilise people, I would only be able to mobilise, maximum, 3000," Abu-Ismail told Yousri Fouda, the host of the popular, late-night Akhr Kalam (The Last Word) Talk Show.

Considering that his disqualification is what sparked the events that eventully led to the bloody clashes near the ministry of defence in Abbasiya, many criticise Abu-Ismail's absence from the scene during the crisis.

His campaign throws the blame back on the SPEC, accusing the commission of forbidding him from appearing on Egyptian state television. The presidential elections body, in turn, deny the allegations.

Moreover, Abu-Ismail blamed the ruling military council for the deaths of the protesters in Abbasiya and said "they were peaceful demonstrators and the SCAF has blood on its hands."

Despite the findings by the SPEC that Abu-Ismail's mother had dual American-Egyptian citizenship, which was the disqualifying factor, Abu-Ismail asserted, "Once and for all, my mother does not hold American citizenship."

To reinforce his argument, he revealed that he went to the American embassy in Cairo to collect the necessary documents that would prove that his mother does not hold American nationality. Once there, however, he was notified that certification had to come from the consular affairs department of the Egyptian foreign ministry, which would have taken at least 45 days, according to Abu-Ismail.

Lashing out at the SPEC, Abu-Ismail said he will take his case to the judiciary and will reveal all the facts; proving who they are and showing their ties to Mubarak's former regime.

Commenting on the current presidential candidates, he stated that he would either vote for the Brotherhood's candidate, Mohamed Morsi, or liberal Islamist, Abdel Moneim Abul-Fotouh. "Although supporting them can be problematic, it is nevertheless better than supporting a remnant of the former regime," stated Abu-Ismail.

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