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Brotherhood clashes in parliament head the news

CAIRO: Parliament speaker Fathi Sorour’s clashes with Muslim Brotherhood members continue as the latter insist on raising the issue of two Egyptian border guards who were killed by Israeli fire, reports Al-Masry Al-Youm on its front page. After the policemen died, conflicting reports of their death dominated the news as Egyptian authorities insisted that the …


CAIRO: Parliament speaker Fathi Sorour’s clashes with Muslim Brotherhood members continue as the latter insist on raising the issue of two Egyptian border guards who were killed by Israeli fire, reports Al-Masry Al-Youm on its front page.

After the policemen died, conflicting reports of their death dominated the news as Egyptian authorities insisted that the guards were killed as they stood on the Egyptian side of the Egyptian-Israeli borders and were dragged by the Israeli guards across the border after they were shot. The Israeli side, however, claims that the two policemen stormed across the border, firing at the Israeli troops, who only reacted to the assault.

Following the incident last week, parliament responded by saying that only an in-depth investigation would uncover the truth, with Sorour saying that the investigation should go forward. “Egypt will not let this incident pass easily and it will not falter in defending its rights, Mufid Shehab, legal affairs minister, was quoted in Al-Akhbar as saying.

However, as the upper house’s Muslim Brotherhood members attempted to discuss the incident in parliament again, condemning the upper house’s latest decision to transfer the investigation to the Arab Affairs Committee, Sorour “responded firmly that [the Muslim Brotherhood representatives] should sit or else he would take action against them, reports Al-Masyi Al-Youm.

“Some of the outsiders sitting here insist on infringing on order, Sorour was quoted by the paper as saying, while he pointed to the seats of the Muslim Brotherhood members. “Those who disregard order are considered outsiders.

The Muslim Brotherhood members were reportedly outraged by Sorour’s statements, refusing to be called “outsiders. The clashes between both parties continued as other members interfered to put an end to the dispute. In the end, Sorour was quoted as saying that “only his words count and that no one else will set an agenda for him, confirming the parliament’s latest decision on the border incident investigation.

During the same parliamentary session, Al-Masry Al-Youm also reported that 107 members of the upper house had filed a memo directed toward President Hosni Mubarak, demanding the release of imprisoned leading politician Ayman Nour and requesting a pardon for him and an end to his five-year prison sentence. The memo was signed by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Wafd and Al-Tagammu parties in addition to members of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP).

Nour was indicted for allegedly forging documents and signatures needed to declare the El-Ghad party legal. However, El-Ghad, backed by the opposition, claims that the sentence was meant to stifle Nour’s activities, to punish him for running against Mubarak in last year’s presidential elections and destroy him as a popular political leader.

The Muslim Brotherhood news sources, in a different incident, report that state security has renewed the detainment of a group of its members and leaders for an additional 15 days. According to a Muslim Brotherhood source, one of the detainee’s parents died last week and even though security was informed, they refused to release the member or let him attend his parent’s funeral. The members were detained during Alexandria’s chamber of commerce elections, where, according to Brotherhood claims, some had been rounded-up as they entered balloting stations to cast their votes.

Also in Cairo, Reuters reports that the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR “criticized a June 8 report by the Forced Migration and Refugee Studies (FMRS) program at the American University in Cairo that blamed agency maladministration, Egyptian security forces and Sudanese protest leaders for the death and forced removal of Sudanese protesters in Cairo in late 2005.

Late last year, Sudanese refugees residing in Cairo had protested their conditions and had asked to be placed in a Western country, as they established a make-shift camp in a Cairo public garden. As their numbers increased, reaching around 3,000 in the course of two months, Cairo’s UNHCR office asked the country to interfere to resolve the situation, especially since Sudanese protestors had died due to deteriorating health and sanitary conditions. Failing to move the protestors through negotiations, Egypt’s security forces then dispersed the protestors by force where more than 20 protestors were killed, including women and children.

It does not appear that UNHCR s views have been presented accurately, said UNHCR regional representative Saad Al-Attar in a written statement included in the Reuters report. We feel that there are a number of striking omissions and errors of facts.

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