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EGYPT: Parliament member loses legal immunity after gambling incident

January 20, 2010 |  9:10 am


The Egyptian People's Assembly's legislative committee has lifted legal immunity for Yasser Salah, a member of the ruling National Democratic Party, who is accused of gambling and forging a foreign passport.

The committee's decision on Tuesday came after the minister of justice asked that Salah be investigated on charges of illegally obtaining a foreign passport that allowed him to enter gambling premises. Egyptians are forbidden from gambling or even entering a casino, and the Constitution prohibits members of Parliament from holding dual nationalities. 

Earlier this month, a report was filed against Salah by the Sofitel Hotel in Cairo to the Egyptian tourism police, accusing him of using a Guinean passport with a different identity to enter their casino. The report said Salah presented a passport under the alias of Mostafa Hussein Helmi on his way in to the casino before he revealed his Egyptian identity to ushers while exchanging Egyptian pounds to U.S. dollars. 

The casino's director supported his statement with a clip of Salah caught on the casino's security cameras. The daily newspaper Al Masry Al Youm later published the photos. Salah, who represents the Cairo district of El Zawya El Hamra, has since then been dubbed the 'gambling MP' and has become the focus of a wave of criticism by editorial writers, who have noted that gambling is against Islam.

-- Amro Hassan in Cairo

Photo: Member of Parliament Yasser Salah. Credit: Al Youm Al Sabee