Family demands justice over Egyptian student’s death in England

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.”

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