Egyptian parliament's human rights committee denies it faces police harassment

Gamal Essam El-Din , Thursday 22 Sep 2016

The committee said in a statement today that it did its job without any security restrictions

Leading MPs affiliated with Egypt parliament's human rights committee said in a statement on Thursday that the committee has never faced security restrictions or police harassment regarding its work during parliament's first session, which adjourned for summer recess on 7 September.

According to the statement sent to the media on Thursday, "allegations that security restrictions were imposed on the committee in parliament's first session are entirely unfounded."

"Most of the senior officials in the ministries of interior, health, education, foreign affairs, justice, immigration, justice, and social solidarity, and the National Council of Human Rights, were keen to attend the committee's meetings and answer questions," read the statement.

The committee's chairman, Anwar El-Sadat, resigned on 30 August, accusing parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal of not doing enough to help the committee do its job.

El-Sadat also said in a statement that Interior Minister Magdi Abdel-Ghaffar refused to come to the committee to answer questions on the phenomenon of alleged forced disappearances at the hands of the police and torture in prison cells and police stations.

Abdel-Aal accused El-Sadat of exploiting his position to serve a radical Western liberal agenda on human rights. Abdel-Aal also accused Sadat of filing a complaint against parliament with "an international institution to tarnish the image of Egypt, and I will not let this pass easily."

He threatened that a closed door meeting will be held to investigate El-Sadat. 

El-Sadat resigned shortly after Abdel-Aal's threats on 30 August.

The statement added that senior officials of the ministry of interior in particular were keen to come to the committee whenever invited to respond to questions and complaints raised by ordinary citizens about security policies.

"We strongly deny all claims that the committee came under pressure from government institutions so as not do its job freely," the statement said.

The statement was signed by the committee's three leading officials: first deputy chairman Atef Makhaleef, second deputy Margaret Azer,and Secretary general Mahmoud Mohieddin.
Egypt parliament's next session will open on 4 October.


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