Egyptian campaign to take 'legal measures' against MP's celebratory gunfire

Menna Alaa El-Din , Monday 23 Dec 2019

Celebratory gunfire is traditional at some weddings, especially in Upper Egypt and rural areas

An Egyptian campaign said it will take the necessary "legal measures" against a parliamentarian for using her weapon in a celebratory gunfire, the lead campaigner told Ahram Online on Monday, as a video of the MP sparked controversy over the boastful practice.

A video went viral on Monday showing Sharqiya MP Nosaila Ismail shooting fire in the air in celebration of her daughter’s engagement.

“We watched the video and we will take legal measures,” Marwa Qenawy, head of the “No to Celebratory Gunfire” campaign, said.

Celebratory gunfire is a tradition in some Egyptian weddings, especially in Upper Egypt and rural areas.

Qenawy said the legal procedures include "filing complaints to the prosecutor-general, the waiver of immunity of the parliamentarian" and requests for briefing on MP Ismail’s acts.

Ismail has defended her action during a phone call with a private TV satellite channel late Monday, stressing that her "birdshot gun" is licensed.

“I have a licence... and this is normal. Shooting firearms is normal,” she said.

According to Egypt’s firearms control legislation, people seeking to buy smooth-barrel guns, pistols, and shotguns should state a reason to acquire the licensing, which is often granted under the pretext of self-defence and hunting. 

The “No to Celebratory Gunfire” is a 2018 campaign that gained momentum after Qenawy lost her 13-year-old son Youssef El-Arabi in 2017, when a stray bullet struck his chest from celebratory gunfire.

He fell into a coma and died two weeks later. Qenawy went on an extended hunger strike in 2019 in demand of justice for her son's death.

Last May, an Egyptian criminal court upheld seven-year prison terms against three men -- a student, a sacked policeman, and the son of a former parliamentarian -- after convictions of accidentally killing El-Arabi.  

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