Former Egyptian MP who met with Israeli banned from travel

Egypt’s parliament voted earlier this month to expel Okasha after he invited the ambassador to his home for dinner.

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March 14, 2016 00:56
1 minute read.
MP Tawfik Okasha hosts Israeli ambassador Haim Koren

MP Tawfik Okasha (right) hosts Israeli ambassador Haim Koren. (photo credit: EGYPTIAN MEDIA)

Egypt’s Prosecutor-General Nabil Sadek on Saturday banned former MP Tawfik Okasha from travel abroad, in what appears to be a consequence of his having hosted Israeli Ambassador Haim Koren for dinner last month.

Officially, the travel ban depends on the result of an investigation into the allegation that television presenter Okasha forged his doctoral degree – one of the documents he submitted to the electoral authority as part of his candidacy, Al-Ahram Online reported on Sunday.

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Egypt’s parliament voted earlier this month to expel Okasha after he invited the ambassador to his home for dinner. The invitation, announced live on Okasha’s TV show, drew widespread criticism. One fellow MP assaulted Okasha with his shoe.

“Okasha is famous for being highly provocative, not only about Israel,” Yoram Meital, chairman of the Chaim Herzog Center for Middle East Studies and Diplomacy at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, told The Jerusalem Post.

“In one show, he put his shoe on the table and said he would crush Qatar with it,” noted Meital.

The incident with the Israeli ambassador in combination with other incidents crossed the line for many Egyptians, and “now he is suffering the repercussions.”

On Saturday, Okasha’s lawyer, Hala Osman, told the Aswat Masriya website that she appealed the expulsion from the House of Representatives.

A ruling on the appeal is pending.

Separately, Egypt’s justice minister was asked to resign by the prime minister on Sunday, judicial sources said, after being criticized for saying he would jail the prophet Muhammad himself if he broke the law.

Ahmed al-Zend’s comments came in a televised interview on Friday. He immediately said, “God forgive me,” and on Saturday issued an apology in another interview. It was not immediately clear who would replace him.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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