By Mina Ibrahim
The Press Syndicate organised on Sunday afternoon a press conference for relatives of pilgrims who were killed in a stampede in Mina, Mecca, on 23 September.
The conference was presented by the syndicate board member, Mahmoud Kamel, who launched it by criticising both the Egyptian and the Saudi authorities for not ensuing the rights of Egyptian citizens.
“We know that there are close diplomatic ties between the Egyptian government and its Saudi counterpart, but the rights of the Egyptian citizen are more important than any political relations,” Kamel said.
He then referred to the conference that was organised by the Ministry of Religious Endowments earlier on Saturday, noting that it took place 11 days after the Mina incident, “a too late reaction”.
He also emphasised that the ministry did not inform the public of whether there will be reparations given to relatives of the victims.
Family members of the victims also blamed the Egyptian government for not helping them in locating their relatives.
Salah Eddin Mohamed has lost contact with his wife, Elham Sayed Mahmoud Othman. He said that, following the Mina incident, he discovered his wife on TV sitting on a chair with injuries to her arm and face.
Mohamed added that he recorded the video and sent it to Lamis El-Hadidi’s TV show, which then put him in contact with the Egyptian embassy in Saudi Arabia.
“The embassy told me that my wife was in a hospital called Mina El-Wady, and that she stayed there for one day. We asked an Egyptian living in Mecca to search for her in this hospital, but he failed to find her,” Mohamed demonstrated.
Doa’a Magdy also lost contact with her uncle, Abdel Hakim Amer. She noted that, at the beginning, she was in contact with an Egyptian living in Mecca, who informed her that he found her uncle. However, the Egyptian revoked what he said later on.
“The Egyptian Embassy in Saudi Arabia is too lazy. All the governments helped their people to return back, except Egypt. We are too cheap,” she lambasted.
Ibrahim El-Garady was not able to find his brother, Sobhy Mohamed El-Garady, and his mother, Tasaneim Abd El-Rahman.
He also criticised the government and the embassy for not taking serious steps to find his relatives.
“Although I would like to thank the Egyptian youth, who live in Mecca, for voluntarily helping us to find our relatives, I did not find any assistance from the side of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Ministry of Endowments,” he said.
El-Garady added that he went to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but he was mistreated by a consul there, who refused to give him any details on the incident or about the official procedures they are undertaking in that regard.