Egypt’s parliament suspends member for one legislative session over shoe-assault incident

Gamal Essam El-Din , Tuesday 8 Mar 2016

MP Kamal Ahmed struck Okasha with a shoe following the latter's dinner with the Israeli ambassador to Egypt

Kamal Ahmed
Kamal Ahmed (Photo: Ahram)

Egypt’s House of Representatives decided on Tuesday to ban ‎independent Nasserist MP Kamal Ahmed ‎until the end of this year’s session after he was found guilty ‎of hitting colleague MP Tawfik Okasha with ‎his shoe.

‎Addressing parliament on Tuesday, Ahmed ‎said "I really apologise for my bad conduct ‎and for violating parliament's deep-rooted ‎rules. I don’t wish for my name to be ‎associated with this offence."‎

Ahmed also argued that he agrees that ‎‎"there should be a punishment for all fellow ‎MPs for committing this offence if it ever happens again." ‎‎

"I do not want any other MPs to imitate me, ‎but all should understand that I was acting ‎under exceptional conditions," Ahmed said.

He argued that "holding a meeting with a ‎foreign ambassador in such crucial ‎conditions is an insult to Arab ‎symbols, and that he accused these symbols of ‎treason and opened the door wide open for ‎normalisation, are totally considered taboos ‎for me.

“Not to mention that it represents an ‎intervention in the country's internal ‎affairs," he continued. ‎

Kamal also said that he will take the ‎punishment as an honour because it was ‎the right reaction in nationalist terms.‎

The decision against Ahmed came after a ‎special Egyptian parliamentary committee ‎recommended on Monday that Ahmed be ‎barred from the current session for his offence.

‎The committee accused Ahmed of violating ‎old parliamentary ethics and rules.

In a plenary meeting held on 28 February, ‎Ahmed took everyone by surprise when he hit ‎Okasha with his shoe in protest against the ‎latter holding of a dinner meeting with the ‎Israeli ambassador, Haim Koren, in Egypt ‎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 ‎session – 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 have no guilty conscience ‎about it,” Kamal said.

Ahmed told the committee that he was ‎deeply angered by Okasha tarnishing the ‎image of the late president Gamal Abdel-‎Nasser.

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 for one session – which will end in July or ‎August.”

"The committee opted for this ‎punishment instead of recommending ‎cancelling his parliamentary membership ‎completely due to his long and honourable ‎history in parliament since 1976," the ‎report said.

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