Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak’s lawyer accused newspaper al-Watan of publishing a fake interview with Mubarak.
Al-Watan reporter Mohammad Al Shaikh claims he talked to Mubarak recently, and that Mubarak said in part
“You cannot imagine the distress and sorrow I feel when I see the new cities I built and the achievements I made being destroyed and shut down in moments, as well as the lack of security that all Egypt is suffering from.”
Al-Watan is a year-old “local, privately owned newspaper” with “a reputation for criticising President Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement,” the BBC reports. The interview is published in Arabic on El-Watan’s website.
According to the Gulf News’ story on al-Watan’s interview, Mubarak added that he is “still certain that future generations will judge me fairly” and that current president Mohammad Morsi “shouldn’t be judged for the moment.” Further, Mubarak commented:
“Throughout my presidency, I took care of people on low incomes… and I refused to take any measures against them. That is the secret of my sadness, to see the situation of people on low incomes.”
However, Mubarak’s lawyer, Fareed al-Deeb, said that “the whole interview is a lie,” and that Mubarak told him that “he never spoke to the journalist” at al-Watan, al-Ahram reported. Al-Ahram is a Cairo-based government-owned newspaper with a circulation of about 900,000, according to Mondo Times.
The interview, if real, would have been Mubarak’s “first interview since a popular revolt forced him from office more than two years ago,” the Daily Telegraph noted.
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Reporter: “Interview is Real”
Despite al-Deeb’s claims, al-Watan reporter Mohamed al-Sheikh defended his reporting in an interview with Al Arabiya English.
“The interview is real,” he said. As evidence, he pointed to his photos of himself in front of what he said was Mubarak’s private jet and inside the plane on a bed, Al Arabiya reported, adding:
“The journalist said that he does have definitive proof that an interview was conducted but ‘a successful journalist does not reveal his sources.’ However, he admitted that he did not have pictures of the Mubarak and himself.”
Al-Deeb discounted those as not firm proof and questioned the photos. In turn, al-Watan challenged al-Deeb’s remarks again. The paper’s deputy editor-in-chief Ahmed al-Khatib is quoted by Al Arabiya as saying “We do not consider el-Deeb to be a credible and honest source.”
iMediaEthics wrote in 2010 when Al-Ahram published a fake photo of Mubarak, Benjamin Netanyaju, Barack Obama, Mahmous Abbas and King Abdullah II. The photo changed the positions of the five men so that Mubarak was walking in front of the others.
Al-Ahram editor-in-chief Osama Saraya defended the photo as a “true expression of the prominent stance of President Mubarak” in leading.
Full disclosure: Rhonda Roland Shearer, iMediaEthics’ publisher, was a member of the trustees for the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria, Egypt. She continues on the advisory board. Mrs. Mubarak was the chair of the board before Arab Spring.