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.