SCAF won’t take legal action against MP over ‘insult’ to Tantawi

The ruling military council said it will not take legal action against a member of parliament for making what a parliamentary committee considered disparaging remarks about the head of the military government, according to a statement read by the parliamentary speaker Monday.

A parliamentary majority on Monday agreed to refer Zyad Elelaimy of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party to the People's Assembly’s Values Committee, after it deemed Elelaimy’s apology in Parliament insufficient.

At a public rally in Port Said on Friday, Elelaimy used a famous Egyptian proverb: “He couldn’t beat the donkey so he beat the saddle,” meaning that if the main source of a problem cannot be confronted, others will be found to take the blame.

Elelaimy said, “Tantawi is the donkey,” implying his responsibility for the deaths of Egyptians in clashes and protests over the last few weeks.

In the statement read out by People’s Assembly Speaker Saad al-Katatny, the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said it appreciates the legislature’s move to hold Elelaimy accountable for his insult. The statement said the SCAF will not take any measures against the MP in appreciation for the national role played by the People's Assembly, and added that the council will wait to see what steps the Parliament takes on the issue.

“The armed forces has exercised the maximum degree of self-restraint in the face of all attempts at insulting it and dragging it into confrontations," read the statement. "It has been angered by those unutterable words. The least that can be said about those insults is that they constitute a perfect crime …”

The message said everyone is aware of attempts by some to break the unity of the army leaders and officers and thus undermine the main pillar of the Egyptian state.

On Tuesday, dozens of retired army officers organized a march in downtown Cairo to condemn Elelaimy, clashing with passersby who chanted against the SCAF.

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