5 May, 2016
Egyptian MPs claim double standards are being applied to the murder of an Italian student in Cairo and the killing of Egyptian citizens in England, Italy and America, reports Gamal Essam El-Din
MPs have highlighted the contrast between the way the murder of an Italian student in Cairo last February has been dealt with by Western governments and the killing of Egyptians in England, Italy and the USA. They also criticised the Egyptian government for its response to the killing of 22 Egyptians in Libya last month.
Six MPs from the Conservative Party, led by businessman Akram Qortam, issued a statement on 27 April noting that a 22-year-old Egyptian, Sherif Adel Habib, had been "savagely murdered" in London and that the "British authorities have a duty to bring the culprits to justice".
The statement also urged the government to investigate the killing of Mohamed Adel Rushdi, a 62-year-old Egyptian murdered in Indiana, US, on 24 April. His relatives claim his house was stormed by a gang who killed him and left his body beside a rubbish dump.
The Conservative Party statement stressed that it is the duty of Egyptian authorities to take all necessary measures to protect the lives of Egyptians living abroad.
Prosecutor-General Nabil Sadek has ordered his deputy, Mustafa Suleiman, to request the file on Rushdi's murder from American police and judicial authorities.
On Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid told reporters at a press conference that an Egyptian, Ibrahim Ali Younis, had been killed in Italy on 30 April and that his body "was found in the railway station of Naples with signs of torture".
The burned body of Habib was found last week following a fire in a garage in a London suburb. The London Metropolitan Police have opened an investigation to determine the circumstances of Habib's death.
The Conservative Party statement included an attack on British authorities who, the statement said, "appeared to know the circumstances behind the death of Italian student Giulio Regeni in Cairo" but had failed to solve the mystery surrounding Habib's death.
Party official Omar Hashish also accused British intelligence of causing heavy damage to Egypt's tourism industry by asserting "too early" that the Russian plane that crashed in Sinai last October was downed in a terrorist attack.
He condemned claims in Western media that Regeni was tortured and killed by the Egyptian police and mockingly challenged UK officials to use their "genius" to solve Habib's "murder" as well as the deaths of other Egyptians in Britain, including actress Soad Hosni, found dead in London in 2001, and Ashraf Marwan, the high-profile Nasser-era official found dead in London in 2007.
"While the Western and European media exploited the murder of Regeni in Cairo to launch a hostile campaign against the Egyptian police they have kept a low profile on the recent savage murders of Egyptians in Italy, London and America," read the Conservative Party statement.
"While Western media circulate horrible stories about how the Italian student was tortured before he was murdered they now keep silent about how Egyptians have been killed - one burned to death in a London garage, one beaten to death in Naples and a third killed by a gang in Indiana."
The statement concluded by saying that there was a clear double standard in the Western approach to murder and it was based on the victims' nationality.
"The death of Egyptians in Western cities in recent days is a very dangerous development," Mohamed Al-Orabi, a former foreign minister and now chairman of parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, said on Tuesday.
"The committee will initiate all contacts necessary to uncover more details about the deaths of Egyptians abroad. We need to know if this sudden flurry of murders in England, Italy, America and Libya is a result of Egyptians being specifically targeted."
Dalia Youssef, deputy chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, told reporters, "These killings of Egyptians in European cities - especially in London and Naples - should sound alarm bells."
She continued, "We saw how the British authorities deciding to close their files on Soad Hosni and Ashraf Marwan without thoroughly investigating how they were killed."
Said Independent MP Mustafa Bakri, "British, Italian and American authorities have a duty to explain to the Egyptian public how Habib, Younis and Rushdi were killed and why [their] bodies were found in such an appalling state."
He continued, "We will not do what European parliamentarians and the media did when they accused Egyptian policemen of killing Regeni. We are not rushing about to take the British authorities to task for killing Habib."
On Wednesday, Bakri posted on his Twitter account: "Please stop the double standards." The cases of Habib and Regeni, he said, must be "dealt with on an equal footing".
The killing of 22 Egyptians in Libya also represents a dangerous development, said Bakri. "Libya may be close to civil war but Egyptian authorities have a responsibility to warn Egyptians there."
Independent MP Amin Massoud demanded that Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Minister of Expatriate Affairs Nabil Makram show as much concern about the deaths of Egyptians in England, Italy and the US as the EU parliament and European governments have shown about the murder of Regeni.
"An extraordinary parliamentary session should be held as soon as possible to discuss the savage murders of Egyptian citizens in England, Italy and America in recent days," Salah Hassaballah, parliamentary spokesperson of the Freedom Party, told reporters on Wednesday.
"Just as the EU parliament held a session on Regeni, our parliament has a duty to do the same when Egyptians are killed in Western cities."