Saturday,22 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1265, (8 - 14 October 2015)
Saturday,22 September, 2018
Issue 1265, (8 - 14 October 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Outrageous action

Al-Ahram Weekly

THREE Jordanians who assaulted an Egyptian waiter in a restaurant in Aqaba were arrested early Monday and are being investigated, according to a Jordanian security source. The source added that the three suspects are expected to be referred to trial.

CCTV video of the assault went viral online, sparking outrage in both Egypt and Jordan. The three men, brothers of Jordanian MP Zeid Al-Shawabkah, were filmed attacking Khaled Al-Sayed on 2 October after their order was delayed.

Reports said the assailants, who appear in the widely circulated one-minute video, were part of Al-Shawabkah’s entourage. The reports say the MP was at the restaurant in Aqaba, southern Jordan, with his brothers when the incident occurred.

In the CCTV video, dark-suited men are shown with their backs to the camera, facing a man who has been identified by local media reports as Al-Shawabkah.

Al-Sayed, wearing a white shirt, faces the camera. He approaches the dark-suited men, who seem to have called him over. The central figure grabs Al-Sayed’s shoulder with his left hand and points the finger of his right hand in Al-Sayed’s face. Their voices are not discernable but it appears he is castigating Al-Sayed.

After a few seconds another dark-suited man lashes out at Al-Sayed and slaps him in the face. Another dark-suited man, on the central figure’s right, grabs the Egyptian to pull him closer before delivering another blow to his face.

Al-Sayed shows no reaction, not even raising his hands to defend himself, but is thrown backwards by the force of the second blow.

A few people in chef uniforms hesitantly start to mediate and keep the assailants at bay, while a third man wearing dark suit trousers and a white shirt rushes at Al-Sayed and strikes him three more times.

A chef tries to separate the men before being chased away and the assailants, with the white-shirted suit keeping a grip on Al-Sayed, move out of range of the video.

Photos surfaced later showing red welts on Al-Sayed’s face and neck. Reports quoted eyewitnesses as saying the assault continued after the incident caught on CCTV. Another video taken by a different camera appears to show Al-Sayed receiving further brutality in the form of slaps and a kick once he had been knocked to the ground.

After the videos were widely circulated, Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu-Zeid confirmed the identity of the Egyptian and his place of work, a Lebanese restaurant in Aqaba called Lebnani Snacks.

Abu-Zeid said Al-Sayed was hospitalised and the Egyptian consul visited him. A police report was filed against the assailants.

“The Egyptian Consulate is following up on legal action,” Abu-Zeid added in a statement published on the Foreign Ministry’s Facebook page.

Hisham Al-Nakib, an Egyptian Foreign Ministry aide, contacted the Jordanian ambassador to Egypt to confirm that Al-Sayed’s rights will be protected and that the assailants will be held accountable, the statement continued.

Recounting what happened from hospital, Al-Sayed said that on the night of the assault, one of Al-Shawabkah’s brothers insulted him after not “immediately” receiving his order and because he did not like the Egyptian’s way of addressing him, although Al-Sayed insists he was polite.

The angry customer called him a “dog”, according to Al-Sayed. In a telephone interview with Al-Hayat TV on Sunday, he said the man had also thrown a slipper at him.

The next evening, Al-Shawabkah came to the restaurant with his brothers and told Al-Sayed that as a foreigner he should be courteous and respectful of Jordanians. While this admonishing was taking place, people suddenly started hitting him once more, Al-Sayed said.

Jordanian Media Affairs Minister Mohamed Al-Moumni told the Jordanian state-owned agency PETRA on Sunday that bilateral relations with Egypt are on every level “remarkable”, and that King Abdullah was in constant contact with his “brother” Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, the president of Egypt.

Al-Moumni also stressed that the monarchy respects Arab guests, and that Jordan is a lawful state with an honest judicial system.

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