By Heba Hesham
CAIRO: Social Democratic Party MP Ziad El-Eleimy was referred to the People’s Assembly ethics committee for using offensive language outside parliament to refer to the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, as well as Salafi preacher Sheikh Mohamed Hassan.
The PA’s bureau listened on Sunday to statements made by El-Eleimy after confronting him with audio and video recordings in which he was seen to have insulted Tantawi and Hassan, while speaking at a conference in Port Said.
El-Eleimy demanded that the video be taken to the Arabic Language Academy before he appears in front of the ethics committee, to determine if he meant what he said as an insult or, as he argues, was speaking metaphorically.
During a rally in Port Said this month, El-Eleimy accused SCAF of political responsibility for football violence that left 71 dead on Feb. 1. The MP used a popular Egyptian idiom which critiques the systematic tendency to scapegoat lower-ranking officials, while leaving the real perpetrators unpunished, namely SCAF and its leader.
“[The people] let the donkey go but grabbed on to the saddle,” El-Eleimy said.
In a TV interview later, he said he used the idiom because it was common among Egyptians and easy to understand, while stressing that he wasn’t indicating that the head of SCAF was a “donkey.”
The SCAF said on Tuesday that it will not take any legal action against El-Eleimy in recognition of a resolution adopted internally by the PA.