Egyptian parliamentary delegation heads to London to discuss deadly attack on Egyptian teenager

Ayat Al Tawy , Thursday 22 Mar 2018

Eighteen-year-old Mariam Mostafa Abdel-Salam
Eighteen-year-old Mariam Mostafa Abdel-Salam

An Egyptian parliamentary delegation flew to London on Thursday to hold a series of meetings with British officials after the death of a Egyptian teenager in Nottingham earlier this month in the UK.

Eighteen-year-old Mariam Moustafa was left in a coma after being attacked by a group of six girls in Nottingham on 20 February; she was subsequently released from hospital, but died three weeks later. 

The Egyptian lawmakers will hold talks with Simon McDonald, permanent under secretary and head of the Diplomatic Service at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, MP Christopher Leslie, and investigating officer Det. Supt. Rob Griffin of Nottinghamshire police, who is in charge of the investigations, to "learn about the circumstances and facts about [Mariam's] death,” Egyptian state news agency MENA said.

The delegation is headed by the chair of the parliamentary human rights committee Alaa Abed.

The case has sparked alarm in Egypt, with Egyptian authorities calling on British officials to provide more information about the police investigation.

On Wednesday, Mariam’s uncle Amr El-Hariry called for "transparency" in the investigations, while complaining about what he described as the lack of information about the incident and the probe.

"We have no single [piece of] information from any side," El-Hariry said in a video statement he sent to Ahram Online on Wednesday.

"We have so many questions; the entire family is devastated," he said.

"We need to know what is going on…what happened to our girl, we need to know what is happening in the investigations [and] when can we expect results," he said in English.

According to British police, Mariam was "punched several times" by a group of girls while waiting for a bus outside the Victoria Centre in Parliament Street in the centre of Nottingham.

She had got on a bus but was followed "by the same group of women who were threatening and abusive towards her before they got off," police said in a statement.

Three weeks after the attack, she died at Nottingham City Hospital.

Chief Superintendent Rob Griffin of Nottinghamshire Police said earlier this week that investigations have revealed the incident was not racially motivated and that six girls involved in the attack have been identified.

The teenager’s uncle said Wednesday her family had been threatened by the same gang of girls three days after the February assault.

"They [the family] have been threatened that next time they are going to do it with a knife," he said in the statement.

The family filed an official complaint with the police but do not know if an investigation has been opened, El-Hariry said.

A video the Egyptian engineering student recorded of herself in October pleading for help regarding a heart condition has gone viral in Egypt in recent days.

In the video, she complains that a local hospital, ambulance and police have failed to do anything about a heart condition she had been suffering from, saying she was scared and did not feel safe.

The UK embassy in Cairo said in a statement late last week that Nottinghamshire police "are committed to bringing those responsible to justice through a meticulous enquiry."

“Our thoughts are with her family and friends. We share the desire to know the full facts as soon as possible,” the embassy said, while explaining that authorities cannot publicly comment on an ongoing investigation or the details of the case, because “this could prejudice court proceedings and make it more difficult to secure justice for Mariam.”

The statement added that authorities cannot comment on Mariam’s medical history and treatment in lieu of the UK's privacy laws.

"What we must and will do is make sure this disgusting crime does not go unpunished," the statement added.

Mariam held both British and Italian citizenship, and prosecutors in Rome have opened their own investigation into her death. Italian prosecutors have asked the UK authorities to share details of their police investigation.

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