MP Mostafa Bakry (Photo:Internet)
A majority in the People's Assembly voted on Monday against referring MP Mostafa Bakry to the ethics committee to be questioned for insulting Mohamed ElBaradei. The formal request was submitted by 32 parliamentarians with regard to comments made by independent MP Bakry about former International Atomic Energy Agency director and public figure ElBaradei in a parliamentary session earlier this month.
The People’s Assembly speaker Saad El-Katatni gave MP Bakry an opportunity to defend himself before a vote was taken. Bakry claimed that he did not insult ElBaradei and did not accuse him of treason.
El-Katatni had ordered that all references to ElBaradei be omitted from the written records from the session three weeks ago.
Bakry spoke in his defense about the NGOs and human rights organisations that he says are funded by the US to spread chaos in the country. He was carrying files that he said contained incriminating evidence against NGOs.
The MP also quoted comments made by ElBaradei over the past year, to illustrate ElBaradei's hostility to parliament and the ministry of the interior.
Bakry, has served previously in parliament from 2005 to 2010, and is a journalist, hosting a television programme, and owner of El-Osboa weekly newspaper. He was considered by many as an opposition nationalist figure who took strong stands against the US and the normalisation of relations with Irsael.
Bakry's critics have however long questioned his relationship with Safwat El-Sherif, former Hosni Mubarak's minister of information who later became the speaker of the Shura Council (parliament's upper house). His relationships with several Arab presidents, including Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi and Hafez Al-Assad, also came under scrutiny.
MP Mohamed Abu Hamed of Free Egyptians Party said that if Bakry had evidence against anyone, he should present it to the public prosecutor rather than make accusations in a parliamentary session.
Abu Hamed is among the 32 liberal and leftist parliamentarians who signed the request that Bakry be referred to the ethics committee. The request was spearheaded by MP Mostafa El-Naggar.
The majority voted against referring Bakry to the ethics committee, in contrast to their recent decision to refer MP Ziad El-Eleimy of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party to the same committee for allegedly insulting field marshal Hussein Tantawy and Salafist preacher Mohamed Hassan. While Bakry's comments were made in parliament, those of El-Eleimy were made during a visit to the city of Port Said.