Egypt parliament condemns EU parliament for 'double standards' and 'bias' after rights criticism

Gamal Essam El-Din , Saturday 22 Dec 2018

A statement by Egypt’s House of Representatives said the EU parliament should do more to contain anti-Islamic sentiments in Europe, instead of concerning itself with Egypt

Egyptian Parliament (Reuters)
Egyptian Parliament (Reuters)

A statement issued by Egypt’s parliament has “strongly condemned” a decision taken by the European Parliament on 13 December, accusing it of interfering in the internal affairs of Egypt.

The EU decision “used unreliable reports and politicised and biased sources to deal with some aspects of the situation of human rights in Egypt,” said the statement by Egypt’s House of Representatives.

“Instead the European Parliament should do more to contain rampant violations of basic rights and freedoms in the European continent, stem the tide of racism, tackle hate speech and growing anti-Muslim sentiments in European communities, not to mention the slow procedures of justice and inhumane treatment of migrants and refugees which the UN sharply criticised and blamed the European governments for the proliferation of these practices.”

The EU parliament’s decision “also raises questions about the integrity and objectivity of the European Parliament, and let us stress that Egypt’s parliament rejects any interference in the internal affairs of Egypt, particularly as the style of issuing decisions by the European Parliament was based on selected sources.”

“We reject that the European Parliament extends its purview to make itself a judge deciding on the fate of peoples, politicising the issue of human rights, and exploiting this to exert pressure as the double standard policies have become clear to all.”

The statement, however, indicated that “Egypt does not care so much about the European Parliament’s decision, but it thinks that it might impact its possible partnership with the European Union, which aims to meet challenges facing the region.”

On 14 December, the European Parliament issued a decision which criticised what it called “the violations and discriminatory practices of the blockading countries against Qatari citizens,” which also included calling on the Egyptian authorities to release Qatari citizens Ola El-Qaradawi and her husband, who were arrested without charge.

In a meeting held by the Egypt parliament’s human rights committee on Saturday, chairman Alaa Abed said Ola El-Qaradawi and her husband were arrested in June 2017 under permission from the general prosecution.

“Both El-Qaradawi and her husband face charges of funding terrorism,” said Abed.

Wael Abu Eita, a representative of the Ministry of Justice, told the committee that Ola El-Qaradawi, the daughter of Islamist cleric Youssef El-Qaradawi, and her Egyptian husband were arrested upon the approval of the Supreme State Security Prosecution in case no.316/2017 and that both face charges of funding terrorism and cooperating with the terrorist group the Muslim Brotherhood.

“The two are being accused of receiving the instructions of the leaders of the group abroad to send them to its terrorist operatives inside Egypt,” said Abu Eita, adding that “the daughter of El-Qaradawi underwent medical check-ups twice and they showed that she is in a stable healthy condition, and the same is true of her husband Hussam El-Din Ali Khalaf.”

“The registers of prisons also do not show that Ola El-Qaradawi was on strike, or that she claimed that she is a Qatari citizen.”

Ambassador Wael Nasreddin, head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' department of human rights, also indicated that Egypt’s embassy in Brussels has received several “European messages” about Ola El-Qaradawi and her husband.”

“It is very strange that these messages consider them Qatari citizens, or that Ola El-Qaradawi has dual Egyptian-Qatari nationality, in order to show that Egypt is dealing with Qatari citizens in an arbitrary way,” said Nasreddin, adding that “we alerted the attention of the Europeans to the danger of interfering into the internal affairs of justice because this is a crime in line with the Egyptian constitution.”

“The Europeans should understand that the prosecution-general is an independent entity and not a part of the government, as they always like to show,” said Nasreddin.

Nasreddin indicated that Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not obliged to send a written answer to the European Parliament or any other European institutions on the situation of human rights in Egypt.

“We are just obliged to do this with the UN,” said Nasreddin, adding that “Egypt’s embassy in Brussels has received messages from deputy chairman of the European Parliament and head of this parliament’s human rights committee, asking that Ola El-Qaradawi be either referred to trial or released at one.”

“This is a complete interference into the internal affairs of justice in Egypt,” said Nasreddin, adding that “Ola El-Qaradwi and her husband are Egyptians citizens and they are under legal arrest pending trial on terrorism charges.”

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