Mubarak overshadows 1st day of regular business in Egypt’s historic parliament

Gamal Essam El-Din , Tuesday 24 Jan 2012

The first day of regular business in the People’s Assembly was eventful from demands for greater compensation for the victims of the revolution to calls for Mubarak’s execution in Tahrir Square

Egypt 2011 Parliament (Photo: Reuters)

On the first day of regular business of Egypt’s first post-Mubarak People’s Assembly, members of parliament (MPs) from different political backgrounds described the trial of ousted president Hosni Mubark as a farce. They called for the former president and officials from his regime to face a political trial.

Several parliamentarians said Mubarak should be executed at Tahrir Square where his security forces killed many peaceful protesters. Mahmoud El-Kordi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), also calling for the execution of Mubarak, said that his “policies led to stripping Egypt of all qualified personalities and that he allowed his inner circle to steal the country's wealth."

The meeting began with parliamentary speaker Saad El-Katatni giving the floor to Akram El-Shaer, a prominent member of the FJP. El-Shaer wept while speaking about how his son, Mosaab, was seriously injured on 28 January – known as ‘the day of rage’ – on Qasr Al-Nil bridge near Tahrir Square. El-Shaer said he fears that Mubarak will be acquitted of charges of the killing of protesters during the 18-day uprising. He objected to calls from some MPs for “vengeance” for the victims of the revolution.

Mostafa Bakri, a Nasserist MP, said "financial compensation is the last thing we need for the victims of the revolution." What was needed instead, he argued, "was retaliation and revenge against the killers." Bakri said that "there should a revolutionary court to be in charge of politically trying ousted president Hosni Mubarak."

"Mubarak is currently staying at a five-star hospital, flying to the court by helicopter and his wife Suzanne was let free even after she stole public money and a palace in Heliopolis," Bakri said.

Saad Abboud, a leftist MP, attacked the intelligence apparatus, accusing it of failing to provide prosecutors in Mubarak's trial with adequate information about killings committed during the 18-day uprising.

Hussein Ibrahim, the parliamentary spokesperson of the FJP, sharply attacked a statement delivered by Mohamed Attia, parliamentary affairs minister appointed by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF). The statement detailed the government’s efforts in meeting the demands of the families of the victims of the revolution. Attia said the number of the victims of the revolution was 779, from 25 January to 17 December 2011. He said the government had decided to give each family LE15,000 in compensation.

Ibrahim, however, said "it is highly provocative that the government cares only about money." He also wondered why Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri did not come to parliament to deliver a speech about the rights of the victims of the revolution himself.

Parliamentary speaker El-Katatni said that as many as 328 deputies had requested to take the floor to deliver comments about the rights of the victims of the revolution. "All of these will be given the floor even if sessions lasted for ten days because this is the most important issue on parliament's agenda," he said. He confirmed that a fact-finding parliamentary committee would be formed to investigate the killings throughout the year and the rights of the families of the victims of the revolution.

On a different issue, a group of liberal-oriented MPs submitted a request, asking the Assembly to begin negotiating with the SCAF on the issue of transferring power. "We want a parliamentary committee to be tasked with negotiating with the military council about a new roadmap on presidential elections and the drafting of the constitution."

The liberal MPs, including political analyst Amr Hamzawy and prominent cultural figure Mohamed El-Sawy, demanded the abrogation of the 30-year-old state of emergency and an end of the practice of referring civilians to face military trials. They even called for the trial of those involved in the killing of protesters since the army took over on 11 February.

Ziad El-Oleimi, a member of the liberal Egyptian Bloc, proposed that the minister of defence should be investigated to find out if he had a hand in the killings which took place since the fall of Mubarak.

The majority of MPs agreed on the necessity of forming a parliamentary fact-finding committee to lay the ground for a political trial of former president Hosni Mubarak and officials of his regime. Some also called for raising the sum of money given to each family of the victims of the January 25 Revolution of LE100,000.

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