A US network has aired an embarrassing interview with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi despite attempts by Cairo to have it shelved.
CBS broadcasted the entirety of the sit-down talk with Sisi on Sunday after receiving objections from the Egyptian ambassador in the United States.
Sisi, a general-turned-president, appeared visibly uncomfortable and sweaty during the interview, which touched on his human rights record and cooperation with Israel.
He denied that his authoritarian government is holding any political prisoners and admitted that it was working with Israel to combat Islamic militants in the Sinai Peninsula.
Sisi also defended the massacre of more than 800 protesters in 2013, arguing that thousands of them were armed at the sit-in and that security forces opened corridors for them to escape.
"This is a man who is accused of some of the worst human rights abuses of the last many years," interviewer Scott Pelley said after the meeting.
"In his own country, no one dares speak a word to him about any of that. And now here I was in this amazing position to be able to ask this man questions," Pelley added.
Sisi came to power in 2014, a year after he overthrew Egypt's first freely elected President Mohamed Morsi following mass protests against the Islamist's rule.
He has led a large crackdown on dissent that includes tight control of the media, placing draconian restrictions on rights groups and reversing most of the freedoms gained by a 2011 uprising.
The interview has been widely mocked on social media in the Arab world.
"Sorry, Sisi this is CBS - not your local media… I really appreciated the way you looked so sweaty because you were surprised that the journalist was asking you tough questions," said one Twitter user.
Sisi gave the interview in New York about three months ago, when the Egyptian leader was there to attend the UN General Assembly.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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