By Heba Fahmy
CAIRO: Parliament voted Monday against referring independent MP Mostafa Bakry to a special committee for calling Nobel Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei a foreign “agent.”
PA Speaker Mohamed Saad El-Katatny said that this decision didn’t represent an opinion against ElBaradei, who’s a valued Egyptian citizen who has received the Order of the Nile.
“The PA respects him and values him,” he said in another second session.
Thirty-two MPs had filed the request to the PA, demanding that Bakry receive the same treatment as MP Ziad El-Eleimy, who represents the Social Democratic Party.
El-Eleimy was referred to a disciplinary committee last week for using offensive language in a conference in Port Said to refer to the head of SCAF Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi.
El-Eleimy refused to apologize outright for his remarks. He said that he has no reservations about apologizing for any wrongdoing, upon the request of his fellow MPs and the Egyptian people. However, the majority of MPs rejected this form of apology, insisting that he be referred to a disciplinary committee.
On Feb. 6, Bakry accused ElBaradei of inciting American and Zionist agents who want to “hijack the revolution,” during a PA session.
On Monday, Bakry denied the accusations, after which PA speaker Saad Al-Katatny read out his statement on Feb. 6, proving that he indeed made the statement.
“There’s a big difference between saying that ElBaradei incites agents and that ElBaradei himself is a traitor or an agent,” Bakry told the MPs in Monday’s session.
He, however, added that he had documents and CDs proving his accusations.
Bakry cited ElBaradei’s interviews following the Jan. 25 revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak.
He claimed that ElBaradei, who recently pulled out of the presidential race, said in an interview on Dec. 8 last year that the interior ministry needed to be broken down and restructured from scratch, which Bakry interpreted as inciting chaos.
He added that ElBaradei defended civil society organizations whose administrators and directors are now on trial for receiving illegal foreign funding and conducting unlicensed activity. ElBaradei said these organizations were an “icon for freedom,” and rejected their prosecution, according to Bakry.
“We aren’t an investigative authority and we have no right to pass judgments on anyone,” MP Mohamed Abou Hamed said, speaking in favor of investigating Bakry.
He added that if Bakry had any documents against ElBaradei, he should present it to the Prosecutor General to hold official investigations not the PA.
Making such accusations endangers people’s lives including MPs who could be attacked by citizens, Abou Hamed added.
However, MP Ahmed Mahmoud Attallah, representing Al-Wafd Party, defended Bakry, saying that he should be allowed to speak the truth inside the parliament, stressing that Bakry hadn’t directly insulted ElBaradei.
The MPs who filed the complaint described ElBaradei as a patriotic figure and one of the icons of the Jan. 25 uprising.