Kamal Eddin Hussein, one of the "free officers" who helped overthrow the Egyptian monarchy and later served as vice president under Gamal Abdel Nasser, was expelled from Parliament today for his vigorous criticism to the country's stiff new anti-riot laws.
Hussein was virtually the only prominent figure in Egypt to take a strong public stand alainst the Sadat after violent food-price riots last month.
The tough anti-riot laws and now the ouster of Hussein show how seriously Sadat regards the public protest at the government's decision to remove subsidies that would have had the effect of substantially raising food prices. The government rescinded the decision, but Sadat obviously intends to prevent any further outspoken criticism of his policies.
Today the Egyptian Parliament, of which Hussein was an independent member, voted 281 to 28 to approve the recommendation of a parliamentary committee that he be ousted for "aggression on the constitution and the president at a time of crisis and sedition."
Hussein expressed his criticish of the new laws in an open letter to Sadat that was published in the mass-circulation newspaper Al Akhbar just before the new laws were overwhelmingly approved by the voters in a referendum.
In his letter, Hussein described the new measures, which makes activities such as strikes and demonstrations subject to life imprisonment at hard labor, as an "insult to the intelligence of the Egyptian people."
He told Sadat that the riots, for which the government has blamed assorted Communist groups, were actually he result of "your government's shortsightedness and the foolish policy of former governments."
Hussein accused the government of planning to "forge" the referendum results "as was the case in all previous" referendums.
For those sentiments he was excoriated in Parliament, where members described his letter as insulting, outrageous and a "libel against the president of the republic."
Even Egyptians who disapprove of the new laws and regard the referendum on them - in which the government said more than 99 per cent of the voters backed the laws - as a farce thought that Hussein had gone too far in the language if, not the substance of his letter.
Some were particularly ranked by the parallel Hussein drew between Sadat's actions this month and the events of Feb. 4, 1942, when the British ambassador to Egypt placed troops around the royal palace and forced the king to accept the British choice for prime minister.
Hussein was a military academy comrade of Nasser and Sadat in the 1939s. Later he was one of the first Egyptian volunteers in the first Arab-Israeli war of 1948. He worked closely with Nasser in planning the 1952 coup that overthrow the monarchy, and later served in various Cabinet posts and as vice president until he fell out with Nasser over the latter's leftist policies.
Hussein, offered the chance to explain his position, appeared in Parliament today to read a brief statement. He said his criticism was based on his belief the legislation such as the anti-riot laws should originate in or at least be approved by Parliament. But his letter actually went considerably further than that.