Egypt parliament expels MP critical of human rights record

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Egyptian parliament building in Cairo (16 February 2017)Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Egypt's parliament is dominated by supporters of the president

Egypt's parliament has expelled an MP who was an outspoken critic of the government's human rights record.

Mohammed Anwar Sadat, a nephew of the late President Anwar Sadat, was accused of forging signatures on a draft bill and leaking sensitive information to foreign organisations.

Speaker Ali Abdel Aal said 468 of the 596 MPs in parliament, which is dominated by President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi's supporters, voted to unseat him.

Mr Sadat has denied the allegations.

"I answered the accusations with documents and demanded they be investigated by the judiciary," he said in a statement on Monday.

Mr Sadat was chairman of the House of Representatives' committee on human rights until last August, when he resigned over the failure to address abuse allegations.

The accusations he faced centred on his criticism of a draft law approved by MPs in November that human rights activists say would effectively prohibit independent non-governmental groups from operating in the country by subjecting their work and funding to control by the authorities.

Mr Sadat was accused by fellow MPs of leaking a copy of the draft law to a foreign embassy and revealing the inner workings of parliament in a message to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

Mr Sadat said he had not leaked anything to the embassy, noting that the law had already been published online by a ministry, and that his message to the IPU was a press release that was also sent to journalists and posted on his website.

In January, Mr Sadat also criticised the speaker for spending more than $1m (£800,000) on armoured vehicles for himself and two deputies at a time of austerity.

Mr Abdel Aal described such criticism of the parliamentary budget as a "crime".