Controversial Egypt MP Okasha banned from 10 parliament sessions

Gamal Essam El-Din , Monday 29 Feb 2016

Egypt's parliament has barred ‎independent MP Tawfik Okasha from 10 house sessions for insulting the House speaker

Tawfiq Okasha
Tawfiq Okasha (Al-Ahram)

Egypt's parliament voted on Monday in favour of ‎stripping independent MP and controversial TV ‎anchor Tawfik Okasha of the right to attend 10 plenary sessions for insulting the House speaker.

Okasha will, however, be ‎allowed to enter parliament and meet with ‎colleagues in the House's Pharaonic lobby.‎

A report prepared by a special parliamentary ‎committee found Okasha ‎guilty of directing an insult to constitutional law professor and parliament ‎speaker Ali ‎Abdel-Al in a plenary session on 22 February.  

The committee said many MPs testified that ‎Okasha showed disrespect for the ‎speaker and disrupted old ‎parliamentary rules and precedents during the ‎‎session.

The committee said ‎that video footage proves Okasha ‎interrupted speaker Abdel-Al many times "in a ‎very impolite way," telling him loudly ‎that "you were not the right man for this ‎post."‎

The committee originally decided that Okasha ‎be banned from attending three plenary ‎sessions only, but upon the request of many MPs, parliament voted in favour of stiffening the ‎penalty.‎

Abdel-Al also announced in ‎Monday's morning session that another special ‎committee had been formed to take charge ‎of questioning Okasha for hosting Israel's ‎ambassador in Egypt Haim Koren and discussing sovereign and ‎national security matters with him.

The ‎committee will be led by judicial expert and ‎independent MP Hassan Bassiouny.‎

Okasha's meeting with Israel's ambassador ‎infuriated the majority of MPs, with old-time Nasserist MP Kamal ‎Ahmed hitting Okasha with his shoe during parliament's session on Sunday morning. ‎

Although many MPs condemned Ahmed for chastising Okasha in "a very vulgar way," they said they would not forgive ‎Okasha and that if the special committee ‎decided to strip him of his parliamentary ‎membership they would not hesitate in voting ‎for it.‎

Okasha is also accused of forging his PhD certificate. During the registeration session fior new MPs, Okasha ‎wrote down he earned a PhD in management of mass ‎communication institutions from the ‎University of Lakewood Bradenton in the US ‎state of Florida.‎

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