Egypt prosecutor to investigate Muslim Brotherhood for Sisi leaks, slander
The Egyptian prosecution has launched an investigation into a pro-Brotherhood newspaper who is accused of slandering Defence Minister Sisi. (AFP/File)
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Egypt's general prosecution launched on Saturday an investigation into a complaint that the pro-Muslim Brotherhood Rasd news outlet fabricated recent audio and video leaks in an attempt to slander military leaders and undermine Egypt's army and police.
The Rasd news website published on Thursday what it alleges to be the recording of a recent interview between Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Yasser Rizk, editor-in-chief of the Egyptian daily Al Masry Al Youm.
In the leaked recording, which Rasd claims captures dialogue outside the official interview published by the paper last week, El Sisi reveals an intent to safeguard his position as defence minister in the future.
"You should lead a campaign with other intellectuals asking that the constitution include an article giving immunity to Lieutenant-General El Sisi's position as defence minister and allowing him to keep that position even if he doesn't enter the presidency," a voice, allegedly belonging to El Sisi, said to Rizk, according to the leak.
The leak controversy comes at a time of heightened speculation of a possible presidential run for El Sisi in the next elections.
During the official interview published by Al Masry Al Youm, El Sisi responded to questions of his intent to run for president by saying that the time "wasn't suitable" for such a question and that "God's will shall prevail."
The complaint submitted to the prosecution charges that the "fabricated recordings" intend to slander the army's leadership and to incite national strife and division, according to the Reuters-affiliated website Aswat Masriya.
The complaint accuses Rasd of spreading lies since 3 July, when Islamist president Mohamed Morsi was removed from power by the army following mass protests against his rule.
On Friday, Al Masry Al Youm said it would sue Rasd and demand compensation of over LE50 million ($7 million) for the latter's accusations.
Al Masry Al Youm accused Rasd of stealing and altering the interview recording so as to discredit the paper and destabilise "civil peace."
Rasd issued a statement on Saturday saying it had dealt with the leaks professionally, insisting that Egyptians should be informed of the interview's contents. The statement mocked Al Masry Al Youm for "forgetting" its motto, "It's your right to know."
Rasd called on Al Masry Al Youm to publish the full interview in order to substantiate its accusations of foul play.
Another recording from the Al Masry Al Youm interview released by Rasd allegedly reveals El Sisi accusing the Nasserist former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi of falsely stating El Sisi would not run for president, when in reality El Sisi had not explicitly told Sabbahi whether or not he would run.