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Middle East
Egypt MP quits over nose job cover up
Anwar al-Balkimy resigns from Al-Nour party and parliament after claiming he had been attacked to conceal surgery.
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2012 00:15
Abdel-Ghafour, the party chief, went to the hospital to question the MP and found his claims were not true [Reuters]

An Egyptian MP has been forced to resign from parliament and his Islamist party after claiming the injuries to his heavily bandaged face were from a beating to cover up a plastic surgery to his nose,

The Al-Nour party said in a statement on Monday that the MP, Anwar al-Balkimy, "has resigned from the party and from parliament".

"In light of the regretful incident involving Al-Nour party lawmaker Anwar al-Balkimy, the head of the party, Emad Abdel-Ghafour, went to the hospital with a team of party members to question the lawmaker," the statement said. The party said it found al-Balkimy's claims of an attack were not true.

"Based on what the hospital officials said, we decided to expel him from the party, and so he submitted his resignation," Al-Nour spokesman Nader Bakar was quoted on the group's official Facebook page as saying.

"We are trying to bring forth a new set of social values in politics based on Islamic principles," Bakar said. "He may be suffering from an emotional disorder."

Local media have been awash over the past few days with pictures of al-Balkimy's face swathed in such heavy bandages that only his eyes, mouth and black-bearded chin could be seen.

According to Egyptian media reports, al-Balkimy checked into a Cairo hospital on February 28 for plastic surgery on his nose and the next day checked into a second hospital, where doctors said he tried to claim he had been beaten and mugged.

He also reported to police that he was attacked during an attempt to steal his car while he was driving on the outskirts of Cairo. He also claimed his attackers robbed him of more than $16,000.

His false claims led to an outcry against the government for failing to address a crime wave that has been plaguing Egypt since last year's uprising toppled President Hosni Mubarak. Just days before the false report, an Islamist presidential hopeful was beaten in a carjacking, and another Islamist lawmaker was injured in a hit-and-run.

Prison term

The episode was a major embarrassment for Al-Nour, fresh off its strong showing in parliamentary elections, which turned out to be the biggest surprise of the first free and fair democratic vote in Egypt in decades.

It captured a quarter of seats in both houses of parliament, making it the second largest party.

The state prosecutor is waiting for al-Balkimy's diplomatic immunity to be lifted before interrogating him.

If the MP, from the northern province of Menoufia, is found guilty of filing a false police report, he could face prison on charges of "creating anxiety among the public" and "worrying public officials".

Source:
Agencies
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