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Tuesday, 03 August 2021

Egyptian shoe-wielding MP might be barred from attending sessions

Independent Nasserist MP Kamal Ahmed will be banned from attending parliament’s remaining sessions this year for hitting a fellow MP with his shoe

Gamal Essam El-Din , Monday 7 Mar 2016
Kamal Ahmed
Egypt's MP Kamal Ahmed (Photo: Al Ahram)

A special Egyptian parliamentary committee has recommended that independent Nasserist MP Kamal Ahmed be barred from attending parliament’s remaining sessions this year for assaulting a fellow MP.

A report prepared by the committee said that Ahmed violated parliamentary ethics and rules when he hit his colleague Tawfik Okasha with his shoe during a plenary session on 28 February.

In a plenary session held on 28 February, Ahmed took all by surprise when he hit Okasha with his shoe in protest against the latter holding a dinner meeting with the Israeli ambassador in Egypt Haim Koren on 24 February.

The committee, formed by parliament on 28 February, was entrusted with questioning Ahmed and Okasha.

It recommended on 3 March that Okasha be banned from attending one legislative season – nine months – for meeting with the Israeli ambassador in Cairo without parliament’s prior approval, though MPs later voted in favour of stripping Okasha of his parliamentary membership entirely.

Ahmed, who was questioned by the committee for two hours on Sunday, told reporters that he did not regret hitting Okasha with his shoe.

“I told the committee that it was a great point of pride for me to take this action against a man who directed an insult to all Egyptians, and I am ready to do it again and again,” Kamal said.

Ahmed told the committee that he was deeply angered by Okasha’s meeting with the Israeli ambassador and his tarnishing of the image of late president Gamal Abdel-Nasser.

“I decided to act unilaterally and on my own,” said Ahmed. “I saw that the best way to punish Okasha was to hit him with my shoe, and I believe that my reaction was highly regarded by the Egyptian public.”

The committee said that although it fully understands Ahmed’s angry reaction, it believes that he behaved improperly.

“The punishment of Okasha should have been left to parliament,” said the committee report, adding that “for this reason, it recommends that Ahmed be banned from attending parliament’s remaining plenary sessions – which will end in July or August.”

A lot of MPs, however, told reporters that they will vote down the committee’s recommendation “because they believe that Ahmed did nothing wrong when he hit Okasha with his shoe.”

Kamal Ahmed is an old-time Nasserist MP representing El-Atarin district in Alexandria.

In 1977, Ahmed interrupted late president Anwar El-Sadat while he was delivering a speech in parliament, accusing Sadat of launching a media campaign against late president Nasser.

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