Tawfik Okasha, an Egyptian MP whose Parliament membership was revoked, said on Monday , during his first hearing session in relation to the appeal he filed against the court decision of cancelling his parliament membership, that his meeting with the Israeli ambassador was agreed ahead with the Egyptian intelligence service.
During the session, Okasha claimed that the membership cancelation decision has violated parliament regulations. He stressed that he has met with an ambassador of an old friend state.
Okasha was also keen to state that the two islands, Tiran and Sanafir, were Egyptians, stressing that he disagrees with the government decision.
The court has postponed Okasha’s appeal first session to 21 January until the case-related documents are submitted.
Okasha’s lawyer Khaled Soliman said that the court decision of canceling his client’s parliament membership have not gone through the proper legal procedures, describing it as “groundless”. He has defended his client’s meeting with the Israeli Ambassador referring to the late president Anwar Sadat’s peace treaty with Israel in 1979.
Soliman has pointed out that the high-profile TV anchor’s meeting with the senior diplomat was personal, stressing that his parliamentary immunity was not considered in his invitation to the Israeli diplomat. He has stressed that the three-hour dinner aimed at exacting political views.
The former Israeli ambassador in Cairo Haim Koren said that he met with a number of Egyptian journalists and public figures before meeting with the former MP Tawfik Okasha.
Egypt’s parliament voted early March to cancel the membership of controversial MP Tawfik Okasha in response to his unauthorized dinner meeting with the outgoing Israeli Ambassador Haim Koren.
The motion to dismiss Okasa was carried by a majority of MPs, with 403 voting to terminate his parliamentary career. The Egyptian Constitution states that an MP’s membership of parliament can be canceled by a two-thirds majority vote. The vote was based on a request from 120 MPs submitted to the committee questioning Okasha over the meeting with the ambassador.
According to Egypt’s Al-Ahram Online, a report by a seven-member investigative committee accused Okasha of violating the principle of the separation of powers and disrupting Egypt’s deep-rooted parliamentary rules and precedents.
Source: Middle East Monitor