Tuesday,18 June, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1387, (29 March - 4 April 2018)
Tuesday,18 June, 2019
Issue 1387, (29 March - 4 April 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Pending questions

Many questions surrounding Mariam Mustafa’s death remain unanswered, reports Manal Lotfy from the UK


Since the deadly attack on Mariam Mustafa, the teeanage girl of dual Egyptian-Italian nationality, many questions on the circumstances and motives of the killing remain unanswered.

Mustafa, 18, died in Nottingham in the UK on 14 March after a group of teen girls repeatedly punched her, stomped on her and dragged her for 20 metres. The gang then chased her onto bus No 27 before a man confronted the assailants.

The assault on 20 February resulted in a coma that lasted three weeks until Mustafa’s death.

Nottinghamshire police have said their investigation is progressing well but added they were not treating Mustafa’s death as a hate crime. Many are not convinced.

There are four girls being investigated for Mustafa’s death. One, Teesha, is under house arrest while another is awaiting questioning. The remaining two abused her verbally but are not considered to have participated in the physical attack. “I will kill you bastard, we have not finished yet,” one of them was heard saying during the beating.

According to the latest line of inquiry by British police, Mustafa may have been the victim of mistaken identity. Police believe the gang of girls confused Mustafa with “Black Rose” (corresponding to a snapchat profile) with whom they had had quarrels online.

Mustafa had reported an initial assault in August last year by the same group of girls that left her younger sister Mallak with a broken leg. But police at that time did not seek charges against the gang for lack of evidence.

Before Mustafa was viciously attacked for the second time, she desperately pleaded with health authorities in Nottingham for urgent medical attention for a rare heart condition she had. However, she did not receive the attention she required.

The dark side of the story does not end here. After the second attack, which ultimately led to her death, Mustafa was discharged from hospital with the prognosis of a slight head injury despite her repeated pleas for help.

That “slight” head injury would bring her the next day to new medical treatment and to the deep coma from which she never awoke.

In the assessment of Mustafa’s family, the tragedy of their daughter’s death does not lie on the shoulders of the attackers alone. The police and the hospital staff must take their share of responsibility.

Mariam’s father Mustafa is busy demanding justice for his daughter. To do so he has launched a petition on change.org to understand what really happened and why. 

He accused the people who witnessed the attack on his daughter of doing little or nothing to help. “They were watching. The bus driver called the ambulance but not the police. I had to do that five hours later, but in the meantime the attackers had escaped,” the father said.

Mustafa’s family also released an emotional statement demanding answers to 26 questions.

In a Facebook post Amr Al-Hariri, Mustafa’s uncle, said the family’s “precious baby” who now has a place “in the hearts of millions of people across the globe” because of the way she died, had given the family lots of courage. But he insists many questions remain unanswered.

Since Mustafa’s death, her father cannot rest. “This morning the worst thing happened. The British authorities told me that I will not be able to take my daughter for a funeral and burial for three months. English law wants us to expect from eight to 12 weeks until all the investigations end. If we do not respect this rule, we will lose all our rights to request a further investigation. For us Muslims it is unacceptable.”

The news come as a slap in the face of the whole family. “It is more pain that is added to the pain we already feel. My child must be buried,” Mustafa’s father said.

“The family would like to bring her back to Egypt. They would like to say good-bye for one last time and give her eternal rest. After her death, this delay in putting her to rest is the worst thing that could have happened.”

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