MPs say UK handling of 'killing' of Egyptian in London exposes Western double standard

Gamal Essam El-Din , Wednesday 27 Apr 2016

Egyptian MPs said that there were clear double standards in dealing with the murder of an Italian student in Cairo and the 'killing' of an Egyptian man in London

Egypt Parliament
File photo of Egypt's parliament (Photo: Reuters)

A large number of Egyptian MPs denounced what they called "Western double standards" over the contrast in dealing with the murder of an Italian student in Cairo last January and the 'killing' of an Egyptian man in London on 19 April.

The Conservatives Party, led by businessman Akram Qortam, said in a statement on Wednesday that Egyptian citizen Sherif Adel Habib was "savagely murdered" in London and that "British authorities have a duty to bring the culprits to justice."

The statement also stressed that Egyptian authorities are required to take all measures necessary to protect the lives of Egyptians living abroad.

Habib's body was found burned last week after a garage fire in a London suburb.

The British government has opened an investigation to determine the circumstances of the death of Habib. London said on Wednesday it is cooperating with Cairo to solve the case.

The party attacked British intelligence authorities for their seemingly "genius" ability to know the circumstances behind the death of Italian student Giulio Regeni in Cairo while failing to uncover the mystery surrounding Habib's death.

Omar Hashish, a leading official with the Conservatives Party, said that British intelligence and security authorities caused heavy damage to Egypt's tourism industry by asserting "too early" that a Russian plane that crashed in Sinai last year was caused by a terrorist attack.

Hashish also condemned the assertion by Western media that Regeni was killed at the hands of Egyptian police.

He challenged the UK to use their "genius" to solve Habib's "murder", as well as the deaths of other Egyptians in Britain including Souad Hosni – a renowned actress who was found dead in London in 2001 – and Ashraf Marawan – a high profile Nasser-era official who was also found dead in London in 2007.

The Conservatives Party statement charged that there was a clear double standard in the Western and European approach to death cases based on the victims' nationality.

"While the Western and European media exploited the murder of Regeni in Cairo to launch a hostile campaign against Egyptian police authorities, even threatening to punish Egypt, they keep a low profile on the savage murders of Egyptians in Italy, London and Berlin in recent years."

The statement added that "while Western media circulated horrible stories about how the Italian student was tortured before he was murdered, they now keep silent about how the Egyptian young man was burned to death in a London car garage."

Mohamed El-Orabi, a former foreign minister and the newly elected chairman of parliament's foreign affairs committee, said on Tuesday that "the death of an Egyptian citizen in London last week is a very dangerous development."

"The committee will make all contacts necessary to uncover more details about the death of this young man," said El-Orabi.

Dalia Youssef, deputy chairman of the committee, told reporters that "the repeated killings of Egyptians in European capitals – especially London – should sound alarm bells." 

"We saw how Souad Hosni and Ashraf Marawan were killed in London with British authorities failing to close their files and not taking enough action to uncover how they were killed," said Youssef.

Mostafa Bakri, a journalist and independent MP, said that "British authorities have a duty to explain to the Egyptian public how Habib was killed and why his body was found burned?"

"But we will not do like European parliamentarians and media did when they accused Egyptian policemen of killing Regeni. We will not do the same and rush to take British authorities to task for killing Habib."

"But please stop the double standards," Bakri tweeted on Wednesday, calling for the cases of Habib and Regeni to be "dealt with on equal footing."

Independent MP Amin Massoud submitted requests to Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry and Minister of Immigration and the Affairs of Egyptians Abroad Nabil Makram, asking them to show as much concern about the death of Habib as the EU parliament and European governments did about the murder of Regeni.

Salah Hassaballah, the parliamentary spokesperson of the Freedom Party, told reporters Wednesday that "an extraordinary parliamentary session should be held as soon as possible to discuss the savage murder of Egyptian citizen Adel Habib in London last week."

"I think that just like the EU parliament held a session on Regeni, our parliament has a duty to do the same about Adel Habib," said Hassaballah.

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