Egypt is pressing Britain to act after the death of an 18-year-old Egyptian student, who police say was assaulted in the city of Nottingham.
Mariam Moustafa was assaulted outside a shopping mall at 8 p.m. on February 20 and fell into a coma before dying of her injuries on Wednesday, according to Nottinghamshire Police.
Police said there was no information to suggest the attack was motivated by racial hate, but authorities will “continue to keep an open mind.” A 17-year-old girl was arrested on suspicion of “assault occasioning grievous bodily harm” and has been released on bail.
Egypt’s foreign ministry said it was following the case through the Egyptian Embassy in London and would work with the family’s lawyer to make sure the attackers were brought to justice. It also said it would address concerns regarding medical care that Moustafa received after the attack.
Egyptian officials want a parliamentary delegation to visit the UK to investigate the death.
“We are in contact with the Egyptian foreign ministry… to help this delegation to [reach] England as soon as possible,” Alaa Abed, the head of the Egyptian parliament’s human rights committee, was quoted as saying by state news agency Ahram Online.
Moustafa’s death has prompted outrage in Egypt, with high-profile celebrities such as actor Ahmed Elsaka demanding justice.
Bus driver tried to intervene
The Nottingham Post newspaper reported that Moustafa, who was an engineering student in the city, was punched a number of times by a group of women on February 20.
She then got onto a bus outside the shopping center but was followed onto it by the women who threatened and verbally abused her before they got off, the newspaper reported.
Nottingham City Transport praised the bus driver for trying to keep the group of women away from Moustafa after the attack.
“We would also like to publicly recognize our driver, who went upstairs to intervene and acted as a barrier between the attackers and the young lady, after he asked them to leave the bus,” it said in a statement.
“The organization added that CCTV footage from the bus had been provided to the police.
Moustafa’s uncle Amr El Hariry said in a video post on his Facebook page that Moustafa had been discharged from the hospital and fell into a coma after she went back to the hospital. He added that authorities had been slow to respond to her case.
“I say that because when the girl was brutally beaten by the group and went to the hospital… the hospital discharged her five hours later and told her that she’s fine despite the fact that she told them that she is feeling terrible.”
“She went back to the hospital in a terrible condition where she was in a coma for many days. She went through about nine surgeries until she died today.”
Speaking to CNN, El Hariry said the family was “astonished” at how badly the case has been handled, and he criticized the actions of the British government, police and the hospital.
He added that the family had provided all the evidence to the police, including video evidence they found online, but the case had failed to progress. “What more do you need?” he asked.
El Hariry confirmed that his niece’s body will be repatriated to Egypt, which is where her family want her to be buried.
The British Foreign Office told CNN it is not aware of any contact from Egypt over Moustafa’s death.
A spokeswoman for the British Embassy in Cairo said that authorities cannot comment on Moustafa’s medical history or treatment because of the UK’s privacy laws.
In a statement, the spokeswoman said: “We share the desire to know the full facts as soon as possible. But as this is an ongoing investigation, the authorities cannot comment publicly on the details of the case, because this could prejudice court proceedings and make it more difficult to secure justice for Mariam.”
She added that UK authorities must ensure “this disgusting crime does not go unpunished. “
Nottinghamshire Police have asked people not to post comments on social media suggesting that the incident was motivated by hate, calling it an “active ongoing investigation” and saying that “legal proceedings are active.”
CNN’s Lindsay Isaac and Roba Alhenawi contributed to this report