Middle East

Egypt Salafist ex-MP convicted of public indecency

The opening session of the Egyptian parliament [23 January 2012]
Image caption The Nour party apologised in March after another MP apparently lied about having plastic surgery

A radical Islamist politician in Egypt has been convicted in absentia of violating public decency after police found him fondling a woman in a car.

Ali Wanis was sentenced to a year in prison for the incident and six months for abusing the policemen. The woman involved got a six month jail term.

Both can avoid prison by posting bail.

Mr Wanis became an MP for the Salafist Nour party earlier this year, but parliament was dissolved in June after a court said the election was invalid.


Police officers told the Misdemeanour Court in Tukh, outside Cairo, that they had found Mr Wanis caressing a fully-veiled woman student who was sitting on his lap in his car while it was parked on an agricultural road near the town last month.

When they knocked on his window asking to see his driving licence and car registration, the Islamist called them "sons of dogs", they added.

Mr Wanis denied violating public decency, claiming that he had pulled the car over to assist his ill niece. But the police said he was not her uncle.

On Saturday, the court found Mr Wanis guilty of committing an obscene act on a main road and contempt of police, and sentenced him to jail.

The Islamist, whose whereabouts are unknown, was tried in absentia and is allowed a retrial. The woman, who has been in custody for about a month, has the right to appeal.

Mr Wanis can avoid jail by paying 1,000 Egyptian pounds ($165) in bail, while the woman can also do so by paying 500 Egyptian pounds ($82).

Earlier this year, the Nour party was forced to apologise after another of its MPs resigned after apparently lying over whether he had plastic surgery. He said his bandaged face was the result of a car-jacking.