Member of parliament and former head of the parliamentary Human Rights Committee Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat addressed MP Alaa Abed, the new committee head for the current legislative year, with a list of topics recommended for the committee’s agenda.
Al-Sadat tackled three topics for discussion in a statement—a copy of which was sent to Daily News Egypt on Tuesday.
Firstly, he demanded that the committee call on parliamentary speaker Ali Abdul Aal to participate in the reviews of the Protest Law, the Free Access to Information Law, the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) Law, and the Law on People with Special Needs.
Those laws have been a source of controversy between the government and different civil society groups.
Secondly, Al-Sadat demanded that the committee inquires into the reason for the delay of the parliamentary Legislative Affairs Committee in holding joint committee meetings to discuss pending legislations that were sent in.
The third topic concerns the Ministry of Interior and police violations reported by the state-funded National Council for Human Rights (NCHR).
Al-Sadat said that some members of the committee attended a Saturday seminar organised by the Prisons Authority in El Marg Prison. The seminar, attended by head of the Prisons Authority Hassan El-Sohagy, outlined the Ministry of Interior’s developmental projects for prisons and new rehabilitation programmes for prisoners.
Al-Sadat asked that the MPs give an account of their experience to the committee; in addition to the visits they planned for the Tora (Scorpion) and Al-Azouly prisons to investigate reported human rights violations.
He further recommended that the committee ask Minister of Interior Magdy Abdel Ghaffar for a detailed report on the number of prisoners under pre-trial detention, with full information on their names, case reference numbers, locations, and durations of their detention.
Al-Sadat resigned from chairing the Human Rights Committee after claiming to have been under pressure from the parliamentary speaker.
On the other hand, Abed was persecuted by a number of online media outlets following his election for the post, as reports pointed to his allegedly negative record in the field of human rights, given his background as a former police officer and a former member of the National Democratic Party (NDP).
Abed is also the head of the parliamentary delegation of the Free Egyptians Party (FEP), which has not commented on the reports.