Sinai tribes demand representation in constitution

Bedouin tribal leaders demanded on Thursday that the new constitution recognize their traditional judicial system. They also criticized the lack of representation of Sinai's tribes in the Constituent Assembly tasked with drafting the constitution.

“Is the former regime’s policy towards Sinai's tribes unchanged?” asked Sheikh Aref Abou Abdah, a tribal leader in Sheikh Zuwaid, in reference to this lack of representation during a hearing with the assembly’s proposals committee.

The Bedouin representatives said that their traditional judicial system, consistent with the tribes’ customs and traditions, must be recognized by the state.

They added that this system would exist as a complement, not alternative, to the state judicial system, and claimed that the majority of the issues plaguing Sinai’s tribes could be solved in a mere two weeks if tried before the traditional courts.

Mohamed al-Beltagy, head of the proposals committee, asked the tribal leaders to draft a text of the proposed article in language that would not conflict with state law.

The former Mubarak regime neglected the Sinai peninsula for decades. The local population, mostly composed of Bedouin tribes, has complained of discrimination, under-investment and poor treatment from state security forces, that has continued since the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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