While ordinary Egyptians feel the pinch, Morsi splashes out on luxury getaway for inner circle
Reports that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi recently sent his family and friends on an expensive vacation that consisted of a private jet ride to the Red Sea resort town of Taba and the booking of 12 rooms at the Hilton has caused outrage in the country, battered by an ongoing political and economic crisis.
Earlier this week, an official at the Taba resort told the Egyptian newspaper, Almasry Alyoum, that Morsi’s family arrived on Wednesday.
The official also said Morsi’s family reserved 12 rooms at the Hilton Hotel, which overlooks the Red Sea, and in addition to the Morsi clan wives of officials from the Freedom and Justice Party came to stay.
Egyptian screenwriter Wahed Hamed on Sunday spoke out against the alleged luxurious vacation. Hamed, in remarks published in the Egyptian daily Al-Shrouq, asked who was paying the bill for the 12 reserved rooms.
“The country is poor, and the [rate of hunger] increases every day. Morsi’s [financial] resources do not allow these huge expenses. And since when has Morsi’s family traveled via a private jet?” he added.
Almasry Alyoum reported the president’s family, as well as the others who accompanied them, returned to Cairo on Saturday afternoon, on a private jet.
An official at the Smart Aviation Company said expenses for the flight per hour costs 6,000 U.S dollars. The official added that the total cost encompasses the time from when the jet was prepared for travel and until it lands at its destination.
Radwan Salam, head of the Smart Aviation Company, said he did not know who rented the jet which Morsi’s family boarded, Almasry Alyoum added.
During an interview with the channel An-Nahar on Saturday evening, Hamed, the Egyptian screen writers, acknowledged that Morsi’s wife, Najlaa Mahmoud, may have “nothing to do with politics.” But she “must look at the poor citizens.”
Reports on the alleged expenses of the vacation were also not well-received on the social networking website Twitter. One user tweeted: “I thank all the respectful citizens who paid the price for the Taba vacation.”
Another wrote: “All of this is from the citizens’ pockets.”
News of the president’s family’s vacation comes during a week of deadly clashes, which killed at least one, leaving up to 48 people injured. On Friday, heated demonstrations kicked off riots between security forces and protestors in front of the presidential palace.
The clashes came amid anti-Morsi rallies in several cities following the unrest that killed 56 people, mostly in Port Said. Residents and families of 21 residents sentenced to death over a football-related riot in 2012 sparked the recent turbulence in the country.
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