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Jordanians react with anger as MP’s escorts assault of Egyptian worker caught on video

By Omar Obeidat , Mohammad Ghazal - Oct 05,2015 - Last updated at Oct 05,2015

A video grab purports a brother of an MP hitting an Egyptian worker at a diner in Aqaba recently

AMMAN — An MP and his escorts are facing a lawsuit for allegedly assaulting an Egyptian restaurant worker in Aqaba, as a video circulated on social media purported.  

The recent assault triggered anger among many Jordanians, Egyptian diplomats and media commentators. 

The issue prompted the government to comment, with Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Mohammad Momani insisting that Jordan respects Arab guests, adding that the law protects both citizens and residents, and guarantees their right to resort to the Kingdom’s legal system. 

The video, which went viral on social media over the weekend, showed lawmaker Zeid Shawabkeh purportedly talking to an Egyptian worker at a fast food restaurant in the port city, but as the lawmaker was still speaking to the waiter, his brother slapped the guest worker on the face.

The waiter was identified by the management of the Lebnani Snack outlet as Khaled Yamani. He is 36.  

The video showed that the MP’s brother then pushed Yamani to the ground and, with the help of two others, started beating him up.

The waiter was admitted to the Islamic Hospital in Aqaba after the assault, an employee at the restaurant who witnessed the assault told The Jordan Times on Sunday.

“The MP did not beat Khaled, but his brother and the other people accompanying him did,” said the employee, who preferred anonymity.

On the details of how the argument started, the employee said Shawabkeh and the people with him came to the restaurant and placed an order with the Egyptian worker. 

“The meals were delivered a bit late, so the Egyptian worker asked another colleague to serve the meals, fearing that they might be angry at him because of the delay,” said the eyewitness.

“When the second worker served the meals, the MP’s brother asked about the Egyptian worker and why he himself did not serve the meals. Then he asked for him and as the Egyptian worker approached he was met with the violent reaction.

For his part, the lawmaker told The Jordan Times he was accompanied only by his brother at the restaurant, denying that others took part in the assault.

But the video showed that two others were involved. 

Shawabkeh said he was unable to control his brother, accusing the victim of “using filthy language”.

“This is a just brawl between two people… Brawls happen all the time, but is this meant for blackmail?” he said.

Social media users slammed the assailants and called for stiff measures against them.

“This is a shame. The assailants think they are truly men when they assault a guest worker,” Qusai Qudah wrote in a comment on Facebook.

Another Facebook user named Hala agreed, saying: “This is thuggery.”

 

Case to go to court

 

Mohammad Theeb Barakeh, the lawyer representing Lebnani Snack, told The Jordan Times that he had filed a lawsuit against the MP and the people accompanying him at an Aqaba court on charges of libel, slander and intimidation in addition to assault. 

The issue of the assault on the restaurant worker was highlighted by the Egyptian media. 

Several Egyptian news channels and websites reported the issue and condemned the behaviour of the MP and his escorts. 

Egypt’s Ambassador to Jordan Khaled Tharwat told a Cairo-based TV channel over the phone that the embassy in Amman would sue the MP and those involved in the attack.

 

Tharwat told Al Hayat TV that the embassy contacted Jordan’s Foreign Ministry and President of the Lower House Atef Tarawneh to speed up investigations into the incident.

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