CAIRO: The People’s Assembly (PA) reprimanded National Democratic Party member Nasha’at El-Qassas on Sunday for proposing that police “shoot” protestors last month in the wake of the April 6 demonstrations.
During Sunday’s parliamentary session, Parliament Speaker Ahmed Fathy Sorour read a formal apology written by El-Qassas, in which he regretted what he called “a slip of the tongue” and vowed that “it won’t happen again,” according to state online news portal egynews.net.
El-Qassas admitted his comments were an affront to the ruling party and the PA.
At a joint meeting last month between the human rights and the national security committees at the PA, El-Qassas said, “Shoot them and use the bullets on all the protestors that are breaking the law,” later maintaining his comments only pertained to “those who break the law.”
“If it was in my hands, I would interrogate the Minister of Interior for his kindness when dealing with those outlaws,” he said.
The committees had convened to discuss the recent protests by democracy advocates and the violent police crackdown of them.
According to Sorour, reprimanding an MP is a harsh penalty and is sterner than banning them from attending a session.
Head of the Planning and Budget Committee and NDP MP Ahmed Ezz reiterated El-Qassas’ sentiments in a personal apology to parliament Sunday, reportedly repeating the words: “I apologize, I apologize, I apologize.”
Ezz added that the party does not intend to justify El-Qassas’ comments, suggesting that if it weren’t for his apology the party would have adopted different measures in dealing with the matter, according to egynews.net.
He extended his apologies to the parliament, MPs and the Egyptian people, attesting that El-Qassas’ comments are unacceptable to any MP or Egyptian citizen.
“This is an inadequate penalty. If this had been an opposition MP, they would have dealt with it differently,” independent MP Gamal Zahran told Daily News Egypt.
“I disagree with this decision. It proves that favors and a policy of double-standards exist within the PA,” added Zahran.
During Sunday’s session, independent MPs objected to parliament’s decision to merely reprimand El-Qassas, deeming it unfair.
Independent MP Alaa Abdel-Moneim called for El-Qassas to be referred to the Disciplinary Moral Committee or be immediately sanctioned, citing similar measures that were taken against other MPs.
“I don’t understand how we can tolerate one MP who breaches the constitution but penalize another, like what happened with MP Saad Aboud,” he was quoted as saying.
According to Article 72 of the penal code, anyone who directly incites murder could face criminal charges.
On April 20, some 50 demonstrators took part in a portest outside the PA, holding up placards reading “Shoot us.”
Several bodies have called for lifting parliamentary immunity from El-Qassas.