A file photo of Egyptian Parliament (Photo: Reuters)
The Egyptian parliament's deputy speaker Soliman Wahdan slammed a statement issued by speaker of the European Parliament David Sassoli on Friday calling for detained activist Patrick George Zaki be released.
Wahdan said in a statement on Monday morning that Sassoli's statement reflects an aggressive position and represents an interference in the internal affairs of Egypt.
"This statement has exceeded all limits and represents an assault on the sovereignty of judicial, legislative and executive authorities in Egypt," said Wahdan.
Wahdan said that Zaki was detained in line with correct legal and constitutional procedures and that he faces accusations of spreading lies and inciting people to protest and overthrow the regime.
"As a result, the prosecution decided to place him in custody pending investigation and interrogation," said Wahdan, adding that the "speaker of the European Parliament should have contacted the Egyptian parliament first and asked to discuss the matter instead of rushing to issue an aggressive and flawed statement on the Zaki’s arrest."
Head of the Egyptian parliament's Human Rights Committee Alaa Abed also said in a statement on Sunday that Sassoli's statement contained distorted and flawed information on Zaki’s arrest.
"Sassoli should have sought correct information from reliable sources instead of basing his hasty statement on information issued by organisations hostile to Egypt," said Abed, adding that "the allegations that Zaki was tortured are completely incorrect and lack any evidence."
"Egypt is fully committed to observing human rights in dealing with detainees and stands against exploiting this issue for political reasons," said Abed.
Parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal said in a statement on Friday that Sassoli's remarks represent an “unacceptable interference in Egypt's internal affairs as well as an assault on the sovereignty of the Egyptian judicial system.”
"Such statements also discourage dialogue between the two parliamentary bodies because they were based on politicised organisations that lack credibility," said Abdel-Aal.
Egypt's Prosecutor-General Hamada El-Sawy said in a statement on Sunday night that "Patrick George Michel Zaki Soliman, a pharmacist from Mansoura city, faces accusations of spreading incorrect and flawed statements that can disrupt social peace.
"He also used his social media accounts to disrupt public order and endanger the safety and security of society," said the statement, adding that "as a result, the prosecution issued a warrant for the national security agency to search his house, and the latter submitted to the prosecution 10 pages printed from his Facebook account, all inciting citizens to protest against the authorities and symbols of the Egyptian state.
"He was arrested on 7 February when he arrived in Cairo airport and was questioned by the prosecution on 8 February," said the statement, adding that "Patrick George Zaki denied that he was subjected to any kind of torture, or that his body has suffered injuries due to torture."
"The defendant is currently in custody and is under investigation, and the charges against him are serious enough that he should remain in custody for the time being until interrogations are finished," said the statement.