Family demands justice over Egyptian student’s death in England

In this combo image, Mariam Moustafa is shown with her uncle Amr El-Hariry in an undated photo. The second picture shows Mariam in hospital in Nottingham, England, after she was attacked by a gang.
Updated 17 March 2018
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Family demands justice over Egyptian student’s death in England

LONDON/CAIRO: The family of an Egyptian student, who was beaten to death by a gang in the UK, told Arab News they want justice for her death, which has sparked outrage in Cairo.
Mariam Moustafa died on Wednesday from injuries suffered when she was viciously attacked by a group of girls outside a shopping mall in Nottingham last month. The attack continued as she tried to escape on a bus.
On Friday the Egyptian Foreign Ministry described Moustafa’s death as “barbaric” and demanded information about the case.
In an interview with Arab News, Mariam’s uncle, Amr El-Hariry slammed the UK’s police for “not doing enough” to prevent the 18-year-old from being beaten by the gang. He also accused the medical services of incompetence.
“We need answers about what happened, we need transparency and we need justice for Mariam’s rights,” El-Hariry said from his home in Cairo.
The attack in the evening of Feb. 20 ended when a man on the bus intervened. The bus driver called an ambulance and Mariam was taken to hospital.
Mariam was discharged from The Queen’s Medical Center after five hours, then rushed to Nottingham City Hospital the next day, where she fell into a coma.
Nottinghamshire Police said a “thorough investigation has been ongoing” and that a 17-year-old girl had been arrested on suspicion of assault occasioning grievous bodily harm and released on bail.
Mariam moved to the UK from Egypt four years ago along with her parents, sister and brother, in search of a better life and education for the children.
In Egypt, her death has sparked anger and calls for a thorough investigation.
“The Foreign Ministry is waiting for the medical reports on Mariam’s condition upon entering the hospital and the forensic report on the cause of her death to seek the legal procedures in case of negligence,” Khaled Rizk, Deputy Foreign Minister for Consular Affairs and Egyptians Abroad, told Egyptian television.
The Egyptian Parliament said it was talking to the Foreign Ministry about the possibility of dispatching a parliamentary delegation to the UK to investigate the incident.
“We are in contact with the Egyptian Foreign Ministry and with Egypt’s ambassador to the UK, Nasser Kamel, and a number of local and Arab human rights organizations, to send this delegation to England as soon as possible,” Alaa Abed, the head of the Parliament’s human rights committee, said.
Egyptian social media users have also vented their anger, with some drawing comparisons with the case of an Italian student killed in Cairo in 2016.
The family want to know why Mariam was sent home from hospital and why the police investigation appears to have made such slow progress.
El-Hariry, a 46-year-old company director, said: “We have a dead body, so why has the police investigation been so slow? The police have a video of the incident that we provided to them, what more evidence do they need?
“And why did they discharge Mariam at two in the morning when she said she was feeling terrible? She had been severely beaten and kicked and punched in the head. Why did they let her go?”
El-Hariry said despite repeated requests for medical information from Nottingham City Hospital, such as X-rays or documents, the hospital has only given verbal information.
The family have had to suffer further with a video of the attack being shared on social media and messaging applications.
“Mariam’s sister, Malak, saw the video come up on her friend’s phone several days after the attack,” El-Hariry said. “They are beating people and sharing it.”
The family have said they believe the attack was a hate crime, targeting Mariam because of her Egyptian background, but the police have said they don’t believe this is the case.
“It is a crime. It is a murder. These savages need to be caught and then we can look at their motives,” El-Hariry said.
El-Hariry said he last saw his niece two years ago. “She was family-orientated, smart and loving. She was also very popular and hardworking at her university. “They thought the UK was their future, but it seems it was a lie.”


500,000 children face ‘immediate danger’ in Libya capital: UN

Updated 25 September 2018
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500,000 children face ‘immediate danger’ in Libya capital: UN

TRIPOLI: Half a million children are in “immediate danger” in Libya’s capital Tripoli due to fighting, the United Nations children’s fund UNICEF said on Monday.
Clashes that broke out between rival militias in late August had killed at least 115 people and wounded nearly 400 by Saturday night, according to Libya’s health ministry.
UNICEF said more than 1,200 families were displaced in the past 48 hours as the clashes intensified in southern Tripoli before pausing on Monday.
That put the total number of people displaced by the recent fighting at over 25,000, half of whom were children, it said.
The UN agency’s Middle East and North Africa director, Geert Cappelaere, said children were paying a “heavy toll” and were increasingly being recruited by armed groups.
“We see children being prevented from going to school, we see children not having the vaccination that they urgently need,” he said.
Those whose parents came to Libya with the hope of migrating to Europe by sea suffered doubly, said Cappelaere.
“They are already facing dire living conditions, many of them are held in detention,” a situation made worse by “the violence that is happening today,” he said.
UNICEF also said schools are increasingly being used to shelter displaced families, which is likely to delay the start of the academic year beyond October 3.
It said residents are facing food, power and water shortages, adding that the clashes had exacerbated the plight of migrants.
“Hundreds of detained refugees and migrants, including children, were forced to move because of violence. Others are stranded in centers in dire conditions,” Cappelaere said.
Despite a UN-brokered cease-fire on September 4, fighting broke out again last week in southern districts of the capital.
The clashes have pitted armed groups from Tarhuna and Misrata against Tripoli militias nominally controlled by Libya’s UN-backed unity government.
The Libyan capital has been at the center of a battle for influence between armed groups since dictator Muammar Qaddafi was ousted in a NATO-backed 2011 uprising.
The country’s unity government has struggled to exert its control in the face of a multitude of militias and a rival administration based in eastern Libya.